Helping Your Family Stay Active During COVID-19

It is back to school season and with added stress from the coronavirus pandemic, working out may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, instead of skipping your usual exercise routine to take care of the kids, it could be beneficial to invite them on your usual run or walk too!

As many students are starting school online this year, it is more important now than ever to encourage your kids not only to get outside, but to keep a consistent exercise routine. According to Parents.com, the key is to rethink your idea of exercise and start with activities such as walking the family dog or taking a post dinner walk around the block.

Tips to Keep Running Playful

When you introduce children to running, keep it fun and varied as they explore their new activity. Variety in location, group size, distance and speed will help maintain their interest and allow them to explore different ways to enjoy running.

Here are some options to help running feel playful while also allowing kids to participate in the planning and decision-making process:

  • Map out a local loop: Find a neighborhood loop where you can safely walk or run together with your children. Set goals such as completing the loop a certain number of times or running portions to give them a chance to push themselves in a more relaxed way.
  • Let kids do the planning: Kids are more likely to enjoy a running-related outing if they are allowed to be a part of the planning process. Depending on their age, give them a chance to help choose a location, pace or distance.
  • Try the track: While tracks can be monotonous for longer runs, their small size and controlled environment make them a place where family members can easily run together at a variety of paces. Take turns running faster and slower so you all have an opportunity to be together at different times.
  • Fun fartleks: Fartlek means "speed play" in Swedish. It’s a type of running where you mix long and short runs. This approach can be ideal for giving kids an opportunity to run shorter, faster paces. Keep them unstructured and use landmarks to speed up and slow down, such as running faster between mailboxes or trees on a wooded path.
  • Play on the trails: Flat, non-technical trails are more interesting than roads, and give kids an opportunity to interact with nature. Local nature trails and parks can help them experience the beauty of the outdoors while being active.
  • Enjoy the scenery — and plan for stops and starts: When you run with kids, embrace the idea that you’ll be stopping and starting. Use this opportunity to explore the environment around you. Focus on the fun, not the competition.
  • Run while they bike: Depending on your family’s fitness, taking turns biking and running can help everyone maintain a pace that is comfortable for the group, yet it allows everyone to stay together. Alternate who runs and bikes to give everyone a chance to improve their running fitness.
  • Complete a fun run as a family: AdventHealth’s Pink on Parade 5K is going virtual. Join us on October 11 to raise funds and support for local breast cancer patients and their families. Together in spirit, you and your family can make a difference… one step at a time!
  • Set goals to emphasize progress over winning: While competitive racing may be in their future, avoid any emphasis on “winning” at an early age. Goal setting for kids should allow them to feel positive and encouraged. Encourage them to compete against themselves rather than others and help them learn techniques to run longer or faster more comfortably.
  • Prepare for the weather: Check the weather before running out the door. If a rain shower is expected, bring some ponchos or consider a shorter run to make it home in time. Plan for hotter weather by bringing extra water and plan to run shorter distances in shadier spots. If a cold front is approaching, layer up to stay warm.

When you’re sharing the joy of running with your kids, keep the focus on them and their needs. Remember that this is an opportunity for time together rather than serious training. Begin with a fun, positive approach to running, and you may see a budding runner for a lifetime.

Does a virtual race sound like something you and your family would enjoy? If so, you can experience the power of running pink by registering today at PinkonParade.com. Funds raised through Pink on Parade will help provide screenings for early detection, new research, survivor education programs and comfort for those whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer.

adventhealth foundation, pink on parade 5k

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