Whether you’re trying to get your family healthy, limit screen time or just looking to spend time with your children, the solution can be as simple as running. Not only can your children benefit from the regular physical activity, but running has proven to help adolescents sleep more soundly and better handle physical and emotional challenges.
The personal challenge, camaraderie while running with others, the confidence you gain when achieving a personal best and the countless health benefits are all things we want our kids to experience, but how do you safely and effectively engage your children in a running program?
Make it fun!
Running is not just about the miles or achieving the best possible time. For kids, you need variety and a fun attitude for them to enjoy an afternoon jog. Create obstacle courses, scavenger hunts or relays to engage your child in physical activity that doesn’t feel like long distance running. Variety and a fun approach will eliminate boredom and keep your child engaged.
Lead by example.
While you may be passionate about running, you can’t expect your kids to automatically have the same enthusiasm. Instead, set an example as someone who enjoys running and has fun with it. Your child will likely embrace the sport when they see a parent enjoying runs and talking positively about their experiences.
Set goals together.
Having realistic goals can motivate you and your child to run regularly. Whether your goal is to run a 5K, beat a certain time or increase your time out together, make sure it’s a goal your child is comfortable with. Work in unison to achieve the same goal and help one another to reach the end.
Make your child the priority.
Regardless of the personal bests you’re trying to achieve or the marathon you’re training for, the runs you take with your child are about the two of you. If you are training, schedule your regular runs for another day so you can focus your attention on your child and their running goals. One of the most rewarding benefits of running with your child is the one-on-one time you have while out for a jog – take advantage of this time to learn about your son or daughter and what motivates them to achieve their own goals. It may even reinvigorate your own running regimen.
Cigna® is the presenting sponsor of Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend and Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend.