FROM SWIMMING TO RUNNING
They're both great for you!
Dear Carol, Thanks,
We have two girls, ages 8 and 5. Our oldest has been
since she was 4 years old and now trains 3 days per week,
has begun to ask me if I would teach her how to run. Our
youngest, who also
swims, but is not as gung-ho about it as her sister, is even
I am a former swimmer (age 6 through college) who turned to
running as an
alternative to the smell of chlorine. I have seen swimming as
a great way
for both boys and girls to start athletics at an early age
themselves (if done right). However, given the stresses on
the body of
running, I have been less supportive of our girls running,
chasing each other.
Given that I still run, I gather that my daughters will
continue to want to
do what I do. I want to support this, before they reach an
age that they
don't want anything to do with me. What age is "healthy" for
them to start?
What are the pitfalls that my wife and I should watch for? We
articles on the dangers of running for young girls and teens
bones, etc.) Are these things blown out of proportion? Your
be appreciated. Happy Holidays.
Doug, Run for a lifetime,
I think that you would do well with introducing your girls to
running as a
fitness activity. Yes, swimming has no impact, but the weight
activity of running helps build strong bones, which is of
importance to girls and women. It's one of the reasons I keep running. I
want to keep my bones strong, for osteoporosis runs in my family.
helps me with flexibility and aeorobic capacity, tones muscles, and feels great, but running is a weight bearing activity that is necessary to keep bones healthy, particularly for women.
Running for fitness can involve easy jogging, some faster
sprints at short
fun runs and all sorts of enriching activities. If your
daughters ever get
serious and want to compete, then it's best to find a coach.
For now, however you can find lots of tips in our
and I did write a little article in my COLUMNS section
Running with Josie
that deals with
your child a bit. I'd also check out our 4 ribbon programs. You
them on the front page and you might find one that inspires your
As for the warnings, they mostly deal with kids over training
distances or at high intensity. I haven't seen any warnings
running, short distances (you can find a fun run distance chart on our Training page.
Good luck, have fun and thanks for listening to your kids and
them become fit for life.
It's important to find a way to make kids love running and physical fitness.
Feel free to email the kid's editor at email@example.com.