Jogging is in its heyday. Inexpensive, it can be practiced anywhere, anytime, and is gaining more and more followers of all ages. But is it safe for children? An expert gives us his opinion.
Mamanpourlavie.com spoke with an elementary physical education teacher, Sylvain Chagnon, to provide an update on this popular endurance sport.
A priori, running would be a perfectly suitable exercise for children, says Sylvain. “You have to trust the human body,” he explains. The skeleton, the heart and the musculature of children are quite capable of supporting them. Running is something humans have done forever, and it comes very naturally to us. Done safely, with proper stretching and with the right equipment, it has no known negative impact on the growth or he alth of babies.
For those who would like to introduce their child to running, Sylvain suggests starting with very progressive training that begins with walking, where we will alternately integrate short 30-second running sequences,then one minute and so on.
Also, distance goals should be appropriate to the child's age and abilities. “It's obviously case by case, he says, but personally, I would limit the distance to around 1 to 3 kilometers for children aged 5 to 7 and 5 km for children aged 7 to 12. By adolescence, they are usually able to decide for themselves how far they like to run, and their bodies are developed enough for endurance running. I am thinking, among other things, of the Pierre Lavoie challenge, where I saw teenagers aged 14-15 cover the distance between Montreal and Quebec. It's impressive! »
In order to practice running safely, Sylvain recommends making sure that the child is well hydrated. “You need to drink enough water before you start training as well as a few good sips, about every ten minutes, during it. »
He also suggests eating a small snack before getting active, but advises against the use of products for runners such as energy drinks and sugar packets. “It's all marketing! “, he launches. In addition, to protect your joints, a pair of good running shoes in excellent condition is essential.
As for adults, it is preferable to run on a softer surface than asph alt, if possible, in order to minimize the risk of injury caused by repeated shocks.
Endorphins in children
Interestingly, it turns out that thechildren do not secrete endorphins like adults do. Physical activity, for them, is more instinctive and playful than focused on performance or the desire to change one's appearance, explains Sylvain. So, running might not be the sport the most challenging, or the most rewarding, for younger kids.
“It all depends on the child, of course,” he says. You have to listen to him and encourage him in a physical activity that stimulates him and keeps him interested. Because this 'rush' of endorphins, felt by mum or dad after a long run, is not felt by the child. The little ones would thus be more inclined to like practicing team sports, gymnastics or day camp type activities, for example, where they will go from sprinting to obstacle courses then to swimming during the same day..
In conclusion, is running with the little ones a yes or a no?
It's a yes, if they like to practice it and we adjust the training according to their age. “The important thing, says Sylvain, when you want to introduce a child to any physical activity whatsoever, is to listen to them. Allowing them to participate in an activity that they enjoy, stimulate and entertain them will ensure a positive relationship with sport that will last a lifetime.
After all, isn't that the goal of every parent?