Running Is Great For Kids – Here’s Why

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It’s not just for grown-ups

With so many devices and apps dominating kids’ attention these days, it can be a challenge to tempt them out of their dark bedrooms and into the fresh air.

That said, it might surprise you to learn that running and athletics is the third most popular sporting activity in 7-11 year olds after active play and team sports. And it’s the fourth most popular among 11-16 year olds.*

But children’s activity levels dropping to the tune of 13% over the last couple of years since the Covid-19 pandemic, it might be time to help them rekindle their love of exercise.**

We all know about the health benefits of running for adults, from improvements in productivity to better mental health and a healthier BMI – and kids are no different.

Let’s dig into why running is so good for youngsters.

It improves mental and physical wellbeing

As adults, we know that exercise boosts our mood, helps prevent injury and illness, keeps our muscles and bones strong and is a great way to protect our future health. And it’s just the same for children.

Being active for 60 minutes a day – the official NHS recommendation – helps kids develop coordination, maintain a healthy body weight, and improve overall fitness. A 2019 Sport England Study found that active children have higher levels of happiness and resilience, making them more likely to keep going if they find something difficult.

And running doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Running groups with school or a local club bring people together for that sense of camaraderie you more often find with team sports.

It’s fun!

Running in the fresh air boosts feel-good endorphins, improving our wellbeing and general happiness.

And while we wouldn’t advocate pushing children into anything too competitive, a bit of challenge works wonders for kids’ confidence and self-worth. Seeing what they can achieve through running is great for youngsters’ overall happiness and sense of achievement.

We love seeing kids beaming with pride when they get their hands on their medals at Junior & Mini Great Run and Great Family Run events. And the social side doesn’t stop at the finish line, with families dropping into our Event Village to explore activities, competitions and food and drink stalls.

It improves sleep

Kids who exercise sleep better. In fact, for every inactive hour of the day, some studies suggest you can expect to add three minutes to the time it will take your child to fall asleep.**

A well-rested child is healthier, happier, more resilient and able to cope with the demands of school and friendship dynamics. Plus, better sleep reduces their risk of childhood obesity and other health problems.

It raises your IQ

Want to be a brain box? Get running. Exercise boosts the blood and oxygen supply to your brain, promoting new cell growth and key brain chemical production. It can also help the brain to develop new neural pathways, contributing to better brain health, concentration and memory.

It’s free

Whether you’re feeling the pinch or feeling flush, running is the perfect activity to smash your exercise goals without breaking the bank. And it’s something the whole family can do together.

Need ideas?

But in our busy post-pandemic lives, parents and carers can sometimes find themselves stuck for inspiration. It can be hard to find the headspace to dream up engaging ways to prise kids away from their devices and get them moving.

So we’ve come up with a few suggestions for you.

Pressed for time? You only need 7 minutes

The he’s-extraordinary website is a great resource, full of tools and advice about raising kids with strong mental, emotional and physical health. Their fun and high-impact 7-minute daily workout for kids is the perfect way to start the day.

Joe Wicks is for life, not just for lockdowns

We loved what Joe did during the lockdowns for kids across the country – we really think he saved our sanity! But what’s to say we can’t still have Joe’s workouts in our lives?

We might not have time for his workout before school, but in the summer holidays and at weekends you could do a lot worse than to start your day with a Wicks workout. Check them out on Joe’s YouTube channel.

Go run for fun

Why not check out activities and events near you? We’ve got so many events across the country for the runners of the future – just take a look at our events page for more information. A goal to aim for can really do the trick with motivation for kids – and adults, too!

You can also join our mailing list to be the first to find out when entries are open for events and get all the latest info and exclusive offers .

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Sources:

* https://www.sportengland.org/news/active-lives-children-and-young-people-survey-academic-year-201819-report-published

** https://adc.bmj.com/content/94/9/686

*** https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2022/may/childrens-physical-activity-post-pandemic.html

 

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