Whether your teen is preparing for school sport tryouts or simply wants to take a trip around the block, jogging is an excellent way to raise his heart rate, burn calories and improve his mood. Jogging requires minimal training and gear, making it accessible for most any person who is willing to step out the front door and put one foot in front of the other. Learning the benefits of jogging to reduce stress after a long day is a habit your teen can take into adulthood.
It is important to jog in a pair of well-fitting athletic shoes to help prevent blisters and other injuries. Specialty running stores can not only help determine your teenager’s foot size and arch type, but can also aid in selecting the best shoe for your his gait. The biggest draws to jogging with running shoes instead of regular tennis shoes are features such as arch support and shock-absorbing soles. Match your teen's shoes with a pair of socks made from wicking fabrics, including synthetic materials or wool.
Preparing to Jog
Though your teenager may be in a hurry, encourage her to warm up before jogging. Walking, jogging in place or jumping rope for 2 minutes can all bring up her heart rate. Stretching can help prevent injury to cold muscles. Have your teen focus on her calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and ankles, says KidsHealth, before setting out. A quick look at the weather forecast will let your teen know if she needs to wear a rain jacket, leggings or a sweatshirt.
Teach your teen to be aware of his surroundings and to observe all traffic laws while jogging. Encourage him to jog with a friend or group, if possible, and to stick to populated areas and neighborhoods. In the event that a dog tries to chase him while he is jogging by, instruct him to stop running and walk across the street. If the dog pursues him, he should stop and say, “No” or “Go Home” in a calm voice. The American Academy of Pediatrics website, HealthyChildren.org, states that an athlete should train three to five times per week for 20 to 60 minutes at a low to moderate intensity level. Always drink plenty of water on hot days to prevent dehydration.
Parents should always know their teen’s jogging route when she leaves for a run. Jogging during daylight hours is best, and wearing light, reflective clothing while jogging at night can help prevent an accident. Using common sense is important while out jogging, so teach your teen to avoid dark areas, notice the people around her, and to jot down the license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles. Identification, a whistle and a cellphone can be invaluable if something goes wrong while your teen is jogging. As energizing as music can be, wearing ear buds or headphones can prevent your teen from noticing something happening right next to her.
Parents and their teenagers will enjoy the benefits that jogging regularly can bring. Regular exercise not only helps tone muscles and trims waistlines, it improves sleep and mood swings, builds the immune system and helps skin complexion. Jogging increases blood circulation that in turn detoxifies the body and gives color to your teen's skin. Symptoms of moderate depression decrease when teens exercise consistently, the brain receives more oxygen and nutrients and stress hormones lower each time your teen heads out the door to go for a jog.