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How to Get Your Child Interested in Running


Here is a scary statistic: the CDC reports that approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. That’s triple the rate of previous generations! Most experts agree that a combination of poor diets and increasingly sedentary lifestyles (children 8—18 spend 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media) are the main causes of childhood obesity. However, childhood obesity, unlike many other health issues, is practically 100% preventable! The CDC recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity each day, and there is practically no easier way than to get great aerobic exercise than with running!

Here are a few ways you can get your child interested in running:

1. Run with them!

Not only is this a good safety precaution, everyone loves a running buddy (and it’s a good way to get in your own daily exercise.) Most kids aren’t going to willingly go out for a jog around the block by themselves, so by running with them you can help keep them motivated. You could even have a little 1-on-1 race on the way home!

2. Sign them up for a road race. How to Get Your Child Interested in Running

Most kids’ races are relatively short (a few miles at most) and there are usually all kinds of prizes for the finishers including t-shirts, medals or trophies and other souvenirs. A road race turns running from a boring exercise into a fun game! Some organized adult races have a “family race” option, so you can get everyone up and running.

If you live in the Albany, New York area and are looking for a road race for your child, check out the Freihofer’s Junior 3K Run!

3. Find new places to run.

Running the same circuit over and over can get boring for serious adult runners, so what do you think is going to happen to your child? Change things up by trying out new running paths each week. Are there any biking or hiking trails you could check out? Parks, community gardens, beaches and riverfronts are all great places to go for a run!

4. Sign them up for a youth running program.

Running doesn’t have to be an individual activity. Chances are your community sports organization has a youth running program (and maybe even an adult version for you) that your child could join. This gives them the chance to make new friends AND get lots of great exercise. Running clubs are also a great alternative if competitive youth sports like baseball or football aren’t the best fit for your child.


Absolutely, movement is very important. However, another statistic to be aware of is that a big factor in adult obesity is also sedentary lifestyle due to injury from overuse and sports activity in childhood. Proper athletic/movement training is critical in developing the young athlete before more rigorous activity is placed before them. If obesity is the target concern we should first look at diet and beverages containing high fructose corn syrup, sugars, and corn starch. I am appalled at the promotion of energy drinks, sports drinks and candy at youth sports events.As parents and coaches we need to recognize the great danger in considering this stuff acceptable in youth sports. The American College of Pediatrics agrees by stating that these drinks have no place in youth sports.So let's be clear about what our goals are when working with children.Is it to drive them hard with the notion that more is better or should we utilize scientific evidence for building strong, well developed future adults. Don't get me wrong, I am a middle aged runner but I do not count myself among the "fife and drum" population of middle aged athletics.
Posted @ Monday, May 28, 2012 3:42 PM by Daniel Fusco
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