Everyone needs regular exercise to stay healthy and fit. Doctors and scientists have learned a lot about ways to stay healthy. Kids should get at least one hour of exercise every day. If you like to play outdoors with friends, then you are probably getting good exercise whenever you do. Some kids like running for exercise, too. You could run outdoors, or you could also run on a treadmill indoors. If you decide that you like to run, learn all about this type of exercise so you can do it safely. Stretching, wearing the right shoes, and eating right will help you stay strong and avoid injuries.
Running involves using muscles throughout your body. To make sure that your muscles are ready to work, it’s important to spend time stretching before exercising. Stretching warms up your body, which can also help you avoid painful injuries. When you stretch, you help your muscles be more flexible because you are getting blood to flow to the stretched muscles. Your muscles may also move more easily after you stretch. Stretching your muscles should not hurt; if a stretch starts to feel uncomfortable, stop. For the best stretch, try to hold stretching positions for between 10 and 30 seconds without bouncing.
- Learn About Stretching
- Stretch it Out : Why Stretching Is Important
- Stretches and Strength
- Stretching Exercises for Kids
- Wake Up, Warm Up, Power Up! (PDF)
- Teach Teens to Stretch
- Exercise Safely
Gear and Equipment
Anyone who runs or participates in other types of exercise will need some special gear and equipment. Good athletic shoes are probably the most important thing that you need. They help keep your feet healthy and help keep you from getting injured. Running shoes have good support for your feet, and they also cushion your feet to absorb the force from your foot hitting the ground when you’re running. Some people might also find that they need to wear braces on joints such as their ankles or knees. A doctor or a physical therapist might prescribe a brace for someone who experiences pain or swelling after exercising.
Some people are curious about how many steps they take as they run, walk, or exercise in other ways. A pedometer is a tiny device that you wear at your waist. As you go about your activities, the pedometer counts the number of steps you take. Sometimes just counting the number of steps you take in a day makes you excited to see if you can take more steps. Setting a goal to take a certain number of steps each day can be a great way to start getting fit and healthy.
- Why You Should Teach Your Child to Run
- Shoes for Small Fry
- Children’s Sports Injuries
- Running Injuries (PDF)
- Overuse Injuries in Children
- Running for Children
- Your Children’s Feet
- Pedometers for Kids: Tracking Physical Activity
- Pedometer Accuracy in Children: Can We Recommend Them for Our Obese Population?
- How to Teach Proper Running to Kids
- Raising Runners: Teaching Kids How to Run
Healthy foods such as colorful fresh fruits and vegetables taste delicious. Anyone who runs or exercises for health needs to pay careful attention to how they eat. The foods in your diet give you energy and nutrients that your body needs. A diet with whole grains, low-fat proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products like milk and yogurt will give you important vitamins, minerals, and energy. It’s also important to avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat because these foods often have lots of calories but few nutrients.
- Why Kids Should Eat Healthy and Exercise (video)
- Tips for Acting Boldly to Change Diet and Exercise for Kids (PDF)
- Chef Solus and the Explorers Introduce the Food Groups (PDF)
- Learn About Nutrition From Arthur and Friends
- Healthy Families
- Food Hero
- Blast Off
- Nutrition Sudoku
Challenges and Activities
Getting fit and healthy by running on a treadmill or outdoors is a great goal for anyone. As you strive to be active, you might play games or do special challenges that can motivate people to exercise. Joining a running club for kids might also help you meet other kids who run and get moving together. Fitness and active play are not only good for your body, but they’re often a lot of fun. The more active you are, the more energy you will have for all of the things you want to do with your family and friends.
- Fun Fitness Activities for Kids (PDF)
- Running Games for Kids
- Activities List