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Run with Me: Get Your Kids Up, Out, and on the Path to Fitness

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Setting Fitness Goals for Children

As you run with your kids, teach them to set goals. Write down each milestone, such as a 5K, and list what it will take to achieve it, Knaack suggests. Then, start jogging together three or four days a week. To make it more challenging, gradually increase your total weekly mileage by 10 percent, says Joel Brenner, MD, medical director of the sports medicine program at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia.

Remember, though, that kids' abilities vary a lot, Kardong says, and their cartilage is more susceptible to injury. While there are no hard-and-fast rules, many experts agree that to run a mile a child should be at least in second grade. By fifth grade, kids can do three miles. "If they run too intensely, kids often burn out," Kardong explains.

Keep it fun and chances are you'll instill a lifelong love of fitness in your children. Today, Nick is talking about joining the track team, and Spencer, 11, just ran a one-mile fun run. Holly, 6, did her first half mile. I'm proud to think that I played some small part in getting my kids to the starting line.

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msminichino wrote:

This is a great article! I recently signed up for my first 5k and my 10 year old daughter wanted to sign up too. I didn't know how much or how far was safe for her younger body. Thanks to this article, I now have a better understanding of what is ok for her. Hopefully this spring we will both be completing our first 5k race together!

3/28/2011 02:03:57 PM Report Abuse

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