Get summer off to a running start

Making a habit of staying active needs to start early — how about today in celebration of Global Running Day?

Global Running Day on Wednesday, June 1, celebrates running as a way to stay healthy. More than 2 million runners from across the globe, in 177 countries, have pledged to get up and go for a run.

At the center of the worldwide celebration is the first-ever Million Kid Run that aims to have 1 million kids around the world pledge to run.

Participation is easy — just pledge to take part in some type of running activity on June 1. It can be a solo lap around the block, a long run with friends or even a game of tag with your kids. The key is to enjoy the activity and inspire others to get moving.

Drew Duerson, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Hospital Medical Associates – Shepherdsville, highlighted several benefits of running for children.

Kids who are active will:

Be in better physical shape
Research shows that running strengthens muscles, especially the lower body and core muscles. Frequent running also strengthens bones, boosts cardiovascular ability and burns calories.

Dr. Duerson often sees adolescent patients with headaches. He recommends running as a way to prevent headaches by boosting blood flow and reducing tension.

Build healthy habits
Childhood obesity is a serious problem, affecting more than 12.7 children under age 19. Though running will not prevent or eliminate obesity, Dr. Duerson says that by emphasizing fitness at a young age, kids develop a healthy habit that can last a lifetime.

Dr. Duerson adds that running allows children to discover new places, make new friends and build a sense of self-esteem that carries over into adulthood.

Besides enjoying the physical benefits of running, children who are active have better sleep patterns and are better able to focus and concentrate in the classroom.

Runners of all ages and abilities can pledge to run on Global Running Day

Want more reasons to run?
Take part in the first-ever COOL Kids Triathlon on Saturday, June 18, 2016, at Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Or, run for a great cause — kids in need of care at Norton Children’s Hospital — in the Splash ‘n’ Dash 5k Run/Walk on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Beckley Creek Park in Louisville, Kentucky.

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