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fitness first

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re you looking for a great way to get your children off their electronics, have fun, gain strength, improve endurance, acquire self-confidence, learn discipline, and make new friends? Start them running! Getting started is easy. The first thing needed is clothing suitable for the weather. Wicking athletic fabric is recommended since it helps keep runners dry and prevents chafing. Shorts and t-shirts are appropriate for warm weather while cooler weather calls for dressing in layers so pieces can be removed if the runner starts to overheat. Also, a good pair of running shoes is a must. They provide more support than normal sneakers and may help prevent injuries. Wicking socks will help prevent hot-spots and blisters. Stretching both before and after running is imperative to prevent injuries. The body should be warmed up to the point where a sweat is broken by doing some light jogging or dynamic warm-ups. Follow this with a thorough, but gentle stretch of the major muscles. Stretching after the run helps to cool down the body and to prevent soreness. One of the biggest mistakes made by beginning runners is going too hard too fast. The body needs time to build itself up. Muscle cramps are part of the game when a runner first begins. If muscles tighten up, time needs to be taken to gently stretch them. If muscle cramps are occurring on a regular basis, the body may be lacking potassium. Adding bananas to the diet is a great source of potassium and other nutrients. All runners at some point experience the dreaded side stitch, the sharp pain in the side as they run. While a person’s first thought is to stop and walk, encourage them to just slow down. Reassure them that the pain is temporary and that they will build strength and 46 fitness first

By Bart A. Stump stamina by continuing to run. On the other side of the coin, do not have them ignore constant or extremely sharp pain. It is the body’s way of telling them something is wrong. Being a “tough guy” and running on an injury is only going to knock them out of the game for a longer recovery period. If it is a major problem, get it checked by the family doctor or school athletic trainer. Lots of schools have running clubs or intramural programs, cross country and track programs. Erica Myers has this to say about her daughter, Lillie, (age 12) doing track. “Track has completely boosted her confidence. She has a new passion for track and field and it has been exciting to watch her grow during her season.”

six miles. Getting tired of the traditional road race? Encourage your runner to try a trail run or adventure race where they need to overcome various obstacles along the course. No matter what distance your runner goes, remember, safety first. They should never run alone! Whenever possible have them run in groups of at least three runners. That way, if there is a problem; one runner stays with the injured person while another runner goes for help. Keep them visible. Brightly colored clothes and reflective materials make them easier to see. Have them run on the sidewalk whenever possible or stay to the side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Remember, when there is a confrontation between a car and a runner, the car always wins! Besides the physical challenges of running, they also have to deal with mental toughness. Sometimes the temptation to quit is very strong and they will need to reach down, deep inside to find the strength to continue running. Have them mentally break difficult runs into smaller chunks and just focus on the immediate challenge.

Local sporting goods stores may have material available about running clubs and events and the internet is a great source, too. Many groups have organized races in which runners may participate for little or no cost. In some cases, the entrance fees are used as fund raisers for worthwhile causes. Most groups also offer participants shirts and sometimes, door prizes after the race. The most popular race is the 5K, which is a little over three miles. These are sometimes held in conjunction with one mile fun runs. Throughout the year you’ll find themed runs that correspond to holidays (Turkey Trots at Thanksgiving and Jingle Bell Runs near Christmas) or Color Runs where participants wear white t-shirts and are doused with colored powders. The more ambitious runner may try a five mile, 10K, half marathon (13 miles), or the granddaddy run, a marathon of twentysuburban family | subfam.com

Remember, the goal is not necessarily to win every race. The goal is self-improvement. Have them constantly strive to improve their time or run farther. Setbacks will happen and they are not always going to run a personal best. Have them think about what they did and how they can make it better. Over time, their strength and endurance will grow as well as their confidence. There are other benefits as well. According to Amy Sipe, “The benefits of running for my son, Will, (age 13) are that he is healthier and has fewer illnesses throughout the year, he can maintain focus and be more successful in class, and he enjoys the camaraderie of his team.” But, running isn’t just for the kids. Parents will benefit too. Running is a great family activity that you can all do together. You can find a great selection of events to choose from in the FITNESS EVENTS section. So, why are you waiting? Get those shoes laced up and hit the road. Make new friends, get in shape, and enjoy the running experience. May/June 2018

Profile for Suburban Family Magazine

Suburban Family ~ May + June 2018  

Chicago area waterparks and pools, fairs and festivals, summer kids camps, party planning, fitness race guide, golf guide, dining guide

Suburban Family ~ May + June 2018  

Chicago area waterparks and pools, fairs and festivals, summer kids camps, party planning, fitness race guide, golf guide, dining guide