Help kids lead happy, active lives with tips from Kids’ Run Club!
We know kids these days are busy. And in order to retain physical and mental wellness, children between the ages of 5 and 17 should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. [i]In 2015, only 7% of Canadian children between the ages of 5 and 11, and 5% of Canadian children between the ages of 12 and 17 met this requirement.[ii] Kids just aren’t getting enough exercise, and there are plenty of reasons that may play a factor: lack of sleep[iii], increased time spent on the internet[iv], and high costs for organized sports and equipment[v], to name a few.
So how can we motivate kids to be physically active? We have a suggestion: running!
The Benefits of Running
Running is a simple and effective way to keep kids on their feet. It also provides benefits to their physical and mental well-being. Here are a few reasons why it’s great:
- Running lowers the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure[vi], while strengthening and toning muscles, improving cardiovascular health, and increasing flexibility.
- Unlike other sports, running does not require a lot of equipment so it is a cost efficient activity. A good pair of running shoes is all you need!
- Running is an effective way to support mental well-being. Running causes the body to secrete endorphins, a hormone that makes you feel happier.
- Running encourages healthy competition, as well as setting and fulfilling goals.
The facts say it all: Running is awesome! In fact, there are whole communities, clubs, and groups built around the sport. Run clubs give kids an opportunity to share their interest in running with others, as well as a chance to make new friends. It’s not difficult to start your own run club. In fact, Ophea has just what you need!
Get ready to lead your own Kids’ Run Club:
Kids’ Run Club, brought to you by Ontario Doctors, is a free running program for kids of all ages and abilities. Prior running experience is not needed for coaches or students. Signing up for the program comes with two guides: One for coaches, and one for participants. The coach’s guide provides all the information you need to ensure your run club is fun and successful, such as stretching and warm-up ideas, safety guidelines, and support for asthmatic runners. The participant’s guide instructs kids on proper running posture, the connection between healthy eating and successful running, and how to encourage others to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Participating schools, communities, and organizations can also request a doctor to visit their clubs so they can educate kids on the importance of physical activity.
Ophea’s Kids’ Run Club pilot last school year was a success, and we hope to do even better this year! According to last year’s evaluation report, 100% of the coaches who responded to our survey said their kids enjoyed participating in the Kids’ Run Club. 100% of respondents said the participants felt that their experience with the program will positively influence their decision to be physically active in the future, and 100% said the participants completed the program with an increased understanding of the benefits of regular physical activity.
*Adapted from PARC’s blog: Helping our Kids get a Running Start on Healthy Active Living
[i]ParticipACTION. (n.d.) Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth. Retrieved from: https://www.participaction.com/sites/default/files/downloads/participaction-24hguidelines-05-17en.pdf
[ii] La Rose, L. (2015). Activity Levels of Canadian Kids Still Lags, Report. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/06/09/activity-levels-of-canadi_n_7542048.html
[iii] Zafar, A. (2016). Many Canadian kids 'aren't moving enough to be tired, and they may also be too tired to move': report. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/sleep-participaction-1.3638191
[iv] Cameron, C. (2015). Canadian kids spend more time in front of screens each week than their parents spend at work. Retrieved from: http://www.tenniscanada.com/canadian-kids-spend-more-time-in-front-of-screens-each-week-than-their-parents-spend-at-work/
[v] Participaction. (2015). The real cost for kids to participate in sports. Retrieved from: https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/peptalk/sports/the-real-cost-for-kids-to-participate-in-sports
[vi] Cattanach, J. (n.d.) 6 Benefits of running. Retrieved from: http://www.active.com/running/articles/6-benefits-of-running