While much of the country can’t say the same, Arizona has some perfect weather forecast for the next week or so. Mild days in the 60s and 70s in December mean optimal weather for something you might not expect: getting your kids out for a run. If you or your children need a little more persuasion to lace up those shoes and hit the road, consider these 5 benefits for running for kids:
Pride and Self Esteem
Children feel great about themselves when they realize they can do difficult things. Whether that’s making a plan to wake up and run three days this week, or pushing that one-mile run to two miles, nothing beats setting goals and accomplishing them.
For kids who aren’t used to running or don’t enjoy it, help them see how quickly they can make progress. You can time a sprint week after week to see how they improve. Or have them rate their experience afterwards every time to gauge their attitude, and see how that shifts.
Growing bodies benefit from activities like running. While the feet and legs are doing most of the work, running is actually a full-body sport. According to a recent study, running stabilizes the upper body in unexpected ways that don’t happen when we’re just walking. The study may point to the idea that human bodies were made to run and that long ago, distance running was a factor in survival.
Children can practice skills while running, like big bursts of movement, sprints, long strides, and short little steps. Playing games with younger kids, like mimicking how different animals run or playing Red Light, Green Light makes running fun!
There’s no question that aerobic exercises like running or jogging benefit physical health across the board. Consider some of these systems improved by running: sleep, heart health, muscles, bone density, overall immunity.
Harvard Medical School asserts that running even a few minutes a day can extend life expectancy. According to a study of adults ages 18-100, those who ran just 50 minutes a week or fewer at a moderate pace were less likely to die from either cardiovascular disease or any cause, compared with those who didn’t run at all. While the study didn’t involve children, setting up good habits before they hit adulthood will help children land on the long-life side of the equation.
Runners often talk about a “runners high” and those mood-boosting endorphins. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it’s not quite as simple as that. However, there are mood-improving neuromodulators that give an immediate feeling of calm and reduce anxiety. In the long run, running contributes to neurogenesis that leads to an “overall improvement in brain performance and prevent cognitive decline.”
Children of all ages will gain insight into how their bodies work and what they need once they start running. Help your children appreciate the effects of running, like feeling sore muscles, finding the perfect stretches, eating certain foods to fuel their bodies, and drinking water to rehydrate.
Contact us at (480) 641-2640 or (602) 274-1910 to get more information about our K-8 nationally awarded charter school of excellence with an advanced learning curriculum. In addition to online learning, we have campuses in Phoenix, Glendale, East Mesa, and Mesa.