The Benefits of Running for the Whole Family
Lacing up your shoes and going for a run with your kids is not only healthy, but also a chance to bond as a family. In many houses, both parents maintain full-time careers making it hard to find time to spend with their children. Running is one of the least expensive hobbies to pick up. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes and a trail or track to tackle.
Where to begin?
It may not be an easy task to convince your kids to start running with you. You have to get them excited about doing it. Disguise a workout as a game so they do not think about it as “work”.
A great place to do those first runs as a family is your local track. Many neighborhood high school tracks are open to the public. The best part about this is that everyone will be within eye site, no matter what his or her speed is.
No access to a track? Why not start at your front door and map out a one-mile route to run or walk. Begin this as a walk you can do as a family twice a week and then incorporate 30- to 60-second running dashes as time goes on.
Back away from your devices!
We are living in a world where technology is all around us. People, especially children, are becoming increasingly less involved in going outside to move. With instant gratification from online apps and games, attention spans are lessening. It is beneficial to create a balance between intellectual and physical activities. Taking part in outdoor activities helps decrease stress and improve concentration.
Let your endorphins run free.
Endorphins are a neurotransmitter that function to transmit positive energy into the nervous system. Although it varies from person to person, it only takes about 30-minutes of exercise for endorphins to flood the body. They are natural pain and stress fighters, which means you and your children will feel happier and more focused in your daily lives.
An excuse to eat more spinach.
Involve your kids in meal preparation and discuss how food impacts exercise. Explaining the correlation is motivation for them to eat their proteins and vegetables. If you have a picky eater, try blending the vegetables in sauces and soups.
Set a family goal!
You have been training together as a family and things have been going really well. Now what? There is a race for everyone out there. Take the leap and sign up for a race with varying distances to fit everyone’s ability.
Have you heard of the YMCA’s Girls on the Run or STRIDE programs? Both are 10-week, curriculum-based, after-school programs for kids between the ages of 9 and 12. They thrive in using the power of running to help young boys and girls prepare for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. Parents can get involved too by signing up to be a volunteer coach.
Fun runs are also great events for the whole family. They are typically no longer than a 5K and often have themes. These races are typically not timed with a chip. Participants are free to run or walk the course and just enjoy the experience.
Crossing the finish line of a race is an amazing accomplishment! It shows off the perseverance and determination that helped your family get to that moment. After all, life is about moments and creating memories to look back on.
Running in the great outdoors
The benefits of outdoor recreation are not only physical but social, emotional and intellectual as well. However, keeping adults and children safe outdoors requires some special precautions. Check out this helpful Guide to Outdoor Safety and Health for useful tips on how to prepare for outdoor exercise.