Once again SportsSignup is proud to sponsor the Troy Turkey Trot (registration coming soon!) here in the New York capital area. In addition to the usual 5k and 10k for adults, there is also the Grade School Mile Race, which is a fun, non-timed, participatory event for kids in the 8th grade and below. Many elementary school kids could probably easily run a mile provided they were playing a game like tag or were involved in a youth sport like soccer—but that’s because the “running” part has been cleverly disguised as part of the fun!
Childhood obesity is a serious issue in this country and we at SportsSignup are committed to encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle among kids, using youth sports as a way to turn boring exercise into something they would actually want to do. Running a mile straight doesn’t usually top the fun charts for most kids, but is no denying running is one of the best forms of exercise around. We believe that if you can get your kids into running at a young age it’s something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Here are 4 ways to do just that:
1. Make running fun.
Encourage those playground games like tag, kick-the-can, capture the flag, and sharks and minnows that involve a lot of running. Just straight running could be either very intimidating or very boring to child (especially when attention spans are short), so keep running fun and light-hearted in the beginning.
2. If you’re into running bring them along.
Okay, must 8 year olds can’t keep up with mom and dad over a long period, but maybe they can run the first or last ½ mile or mile with you (whatever they are comfortable doing). Or you could have them ride their bike while you run for a longer distance. If you are running a race of your own let them come watch and cheer you on. Running, although it’s usually a more solitary activity, does have a huge element of community surrounding it. It’s a lot easier to want to do something when you know you’ll see your friends and have a good time, right? So get them involved in the running community.
3. Get off the beaten bath.
Provided you take the necessary safety precautions, why not go for a run in the dark or on a trail as opposed to just around the block? Trail running will keep things interesting because it’s not flat and straight, plus there are places where you’ll have to slow down giving kids a chance to catch their breath. If you want to give trail running a try be sure to let your child set the pace. And running in the dark with a flashlight or headlamp is a pretty different experience, and it might be just the thing that gets them intrigued.
4. Create a field day in your own backyard.
Get the whole neighborhood involved and set up a field day in your own backyard on weekend. A little friendly competition can go a long way in kidding kids to actually like being active. You can a variety of events like short footraces, egg tosses, a water balloon fight, waffle ball and so forth. Plus, it’s a great way to get the whole family up and moving!