Top 10 sports for kids to play Number 6 - Running
The human body is designed to walk or run between 15 – 25 km per day since descending from the trees to build a new way of life on the savannah as the bipedal evolutionary newcomer in the animal kingdom. Those who were not able to keep up with the wandering tribe soon became prey. In comparison, the humans we have become are sedentary, moving from our homes to cars, trains, boats or planes. Walking or running are seen as ‘exercise’ instead of part of daily life. Sadly, children are often ‘taken’ to school and driven to the park. Yet the first movements children make after crawling is walking, with running coming shortly thereafter. Unless children are involved in preschool sport, their first exposure to running lessons is by their kindergarten teacher. Often not trained in physical education, lessons before age 10 are most often movement based, with little focus on technique. When teaching running, the side benefits impact on learning in many different aspects of a child’s education. Walking and running are key activities that produce BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotopic Factor) that acts as ‘fertilizer’ for the production new brain cells in a process called neurogenesis. Read more about the importance of this to academic performance by Harvard Professor Dr. John Ratey. Running is the building block of many sports. It is perhaps the most widely applied general skill in all movement activities. Running requires children to actively balance (balance whilst moving) transfer body weight from one side to the other side of their bodies. When on uneven surfaces, children develop muscle and ligament strength to counteract the constantly changing sideways, forwards and backwards movement of their body weight.
Types of Running
Unless you have been blessed with high quality physical education teaching, you may never have been exposed to different types of running. With the growth and popularity of marathon events worldwide, as well as Iron Man/Woman combinations of swimming, running and cycling and community or charity ‘Fun Runs’, adult runners often focus on the endurance component of running. Although this is not appropriate for children who are still growing, evidence suggests that aerobic capacity (commonly known as MaxV02 ) may be improved between 13 – 25 years of age. Young children who run build stronger bones, ligaments and joints. They are set up lifelong sports and activity. Some enjoy the joy of wind on their faces so much they start athletics competitively. This is a highly competitive field, due to sponsorships, international recognition and the lure of the Olympics or World Championships.
Children who compete and participate in athletic competitions develop focus, concentration and cardiovascular fitness which improves immunity through lung power. You may think elite athletics has a low-cost entry point making it an easy family decision for an affordable sport. Until you purchase the first pair of running shoes, spikes and branded clothing. With the champions of the sport dressed by large corporations, the clothing idolised by your child carries the cost of that sponsorship. Local athletics clubs, running groups and school athletics groups provide great alternatives for parents and their children.
Ryan Williamson is a gymnastics and movement expert. His personal experience of slipping through education's cracks gives him an unmatched passion to ensure his 3 young children learn in using methods that suit them. He has developed gymnastics based programs to improve academic test scores, numeracy, literacy and creative thinking. Read Ryan's story - above *My Story*