Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic

Running | enjoy running with kids! stay healthy during the covid-19 pandemic

Take your kids out for running to improve your family's physical and mental health during covid times.

It’s 2022, and Hong Kong has experienced the 5th wave of covid. The impact on families with children keeps increasing, especially after the announcement of the early summer holidays. With kids staying at home, sports facilities and playgrounds closed, and strict social gathering rules, parents only can do little things to keep their kids physically and mentally healthy.

But before you give up and drop a tablet into their palms, think of what else you can do for the health of your kids and your family. How can we bond and keep the family active during this stressful time?

Have you ever thought of running with your kids?

Unfortunately, the lifestyle changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic resulted in more and more children becoming obese. Running is a great way for parents to incorporate the 60 minutes of daily activity recommended for kids. When kids run, they create a regular exercise habit, which will benefit them both mentally and physically for life.

How to get your kids to enjoy running?

If your kids are not naturally athletic or used to regular training, you can’t expect them to be immediately excited about the prospect of running with you. The most important thing is not focusing on speed or covering specific distances but on having fun.

““Our kids love running, but they walk, sprint, jump, pretend to be cars or monsters and repeat!” (Celia H., mother of two)”

Here is a couple of tips on how to make running fun for your little ones:

Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic
Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic

1. Get them excited about it

Maybe buy them new kids running shoes and let them know it’s a really grown-up thing to do. They are running just like mum and dad.

Here is a couple of tips on how to make running fun for your little ones:<br>

2. Get them involved

Kids love to feel important, so assign responsibility to maintain their interest. For example, let them use their stopwatch or timer, so they are controlling the session. 

Here is a couple of tips on how to make running fun for your little ones:<br>

3. Let them set the pace

Let your kids decide when they speed up and when they slow down. Let them take walking breaks if they feel tired. Don’t push for more until they are ready or want more.

Here is a couple of tips on how to make running fun for your little ones:<br>

4. Watch your language

A supportive attitude is crucial if we want kids to want to run. Encouragement and praise foster a positive connotation with running.

Here is a couple of tips on how to make running fun for your little ones:<br>

5. Turn running into a game

Try not to mention running if your child dislikes it at first. Instead, try to be more creative and come up with games that incorporate running. These are great for building endurance, in addition to being fun.

Here is a couple of tips on how to make running fun for your little ones:<br>

6. Offer incentives

Motivate your kids to run by offering incentives such as stickers and trophies or let them choose what they want to do as a reward - eat ice cream, buy some candy etc.

Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic
Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic

How much running training is too much for kids?

How far children should run is a difficult question to answer. However, the International Association of Athletics Federations offers guidelines on the maximum distance children should run in any one session. It also advises that training frequency for those up to 14 years old should not exceed three sessions per week; teens aged 15-18 can train up to five times per week.

Under 9: Maximum distance: 3K
9-11: Maximum distance: 5K
12-14: Maximum distance: 10K
15-16: Maximum distance: Half-marathon(21.1K)

Please note that every child is different, and it depends on age, physical development, fitness levels, type of running and personal preference.

Finally, children must follow the same injury-prevention strategies that adults do. For example, running on softer surfaces where possible, warming up, not running if something hurts and stretching afterwards will help them to stay healthy and injury-free.

““My son tried to jog along with me for the first time two weeks ago. He did almost the entire loop, and that was 5.6km for him. Not bad for a 6-year-old!” (Fred M, father of a 6-year-old)”

What do i need to get for my kids to run?

Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic

1/ Pair of good running shoes

The only gear that kids need is a pair of good running shoes. Usually, we would suggest following the 3 principles: 1) bearing capacity,2) cushioning and 3) fit size.

It's important to:
Try on the running shoes for fit and comfort. Don't just buy the last pair your kids had in a bigger size. Have him move around in the shoes in the store to see how they feel.
Avoid choosing a shoe based on looks. If it doesn't fit or won't last, it's a waste of money.
Replace running shoes frequently, about every four to six months.

Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic

2/ Comfortable running apparel

When considering running apparel, look for products which are good for training. For example, aim for breathable and stretchy materials, and look for polyester instead of cotton.

Have fun as a family

Running with kids has not only a positive impact on their physical, social and emotional health but on yours too. The time spent together provides an opportunity to truly connect with your kids and bond as a family.

Running with your kids is also a great way to forget about covid and the frustration of being stuck at home trying to balance personal life, work, and raising children. It enables parents to enjoy quality time with their little ones and helps the little ones to do what they love to do - having fun!

““Running together every afternoon is a great way for me to see what the world of kids looks like, play with them, and get some air for everyone. We don’t care what the weather is, we just go out!” (Fred M, father of two)”

Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic

So don’t wait any more - put on your running shoes and grab your running masks! 

ENJOY A SPEEDY RUNNING EXPERIENCE WITH KIDS!

Running | Benefits and tips for running with kids in the pandemic

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Parents and children alike can turn to running to stay fit and have a great time together. Getting exercise and fresh air is good for our mental health and immune system.