< 1 min read
I recently read an article about a 6-year-old running a full marathon! I was shocked. I like to run for fun but I’ve never thought to bring my kids along (unless they are younger and in the stroller). At what age are kids able to “go for a run”? I’m not interested in pushing them to do something that’s not safe, but I’m curious what other kids do.
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There are many physiological differences between adults and children - the ones most important to running are the ability to regulate temperature and the fact that children's bones and soft tissue are still developing. Children are prone to accumulating heat more than adults and generally have a faster metabolic rate, they are also not as effective at cooling themselves via sweating which means that they are at higher risk of heat exhaustion/ heat stroke.
From a bone, soft tissue, and muscular perspective - excessive exercise or overtraining can lead to injury or damage which can have long term consequences such as damage to joint cartilage or growth plates. Based on the advice of experts, children under 18 should not be running marathons and kids under 16 should avoid distances over 10km.
While encouraging activity in young kids is important, so is moderation, as injuries sustained during childhood might lead to a more sedentary life an an adult. Kids who enjoy running and have the stamina for longer distances, should probably run these longer distances under the supervision of an experienced coach and a paediatrician or sports medicine practitioner.
Yes I also agree with what is being said in that it’s really up to your young person and if it’s something they want and feel they can do at their age and developmental stage.
Kids are so different with different energy and stamina levels at all ages so it sounds like a great activity if your kids are keen on a big run!
I think this completely depends on the child. Some children naturally enjoy things like this and some don't. There isn't any real right age to start I don't think as long as where you are running is safe and your child is able to handle it.
We go on long hikes and have since our kids were in a baby carrier. They have the stamina to go a long way and often outdo my husband and myself. I like to go running by myself and hadn't actually considered taking one of the kids along but I actually think this is a great opportunity for bonding and spending time together. I just might try it :)