Are you looking to get your child active? In today’s digital age, children seemingly have less chance to make the most of the great outdoors. parkrun is a simple, free weekly event with benefits extending far beyond just physical and mental wellbeing, and will add a sense of community and personal achievement to your child’s life.
Physical activity plays a vital role in the development of children in Ireland, contributing significantly to their physical, cognitive, and emotional wellbeing. Here are seven reasons parkrun could be a great addition to your child’s life.
Due to its multigenerational approach, parkrun is an excellent platform to bring you all out as a unit for some quality family time together. Children as young as four can get a timed result and are often joined by their older siblings, parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents and beyond.
Being active in the outdoors helps improve the quality and quantity of sleep for your child. Sleep is especially important for children for both mental and physical development. It is the time for restoration and for children’s bodies to recharge and retain the information they have learned throughout the day.
Physical activity enhances concentration, memory, and problem-solving abilities among Irish children, which may help improve their academic performance.
Participating in group activities from an early age helps children to develop and control the emotional, behavioural and social skills that are needed to operate in a group environment. This generates self-esteem and is valuable when transferred to other areas in life, such as school or sports.
Physical activity serves as a means for Irish children to manage stress, anxiety, and depression, fostering self-esteem and confidence. According to research by the Royal College of Surgeons, by the age of 13, one in three young people in Ireland are likely to have experienced some type of mental health difficulty and by the age of 24, that rate had increased to over 1 in 2. parkrun can help reduce stress and anxiety in children and young adults alike.
By walking, jogging, running and volunteering at parkrun, your child has the opportunity to develop a love for being active from a young age, helping to instil lifelong healthy habits. Children who are active at a young age are more likely to keep it up as adults. Engaging in regular physical activity helps Irish children build strong bones, muscles, and joints while lowering the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and other health issues in the future.
parkrun is open to children of all backgrounds and levels of physical activity, including those living with a disability. By attending your local parkrun you attend an event that celebrates diversity and welcomes everyone to experience the physical and mental health benefits it offers.
parkrun is a community gathering that offers a chance for your child to meet new friends and be part of a supportive network of fellow parkrunners. In addition, parkrun offers a doorway to the world of volunteering, cultivating teamwork and many other skills. A recent survey showed that 2 out of 3 parkrun volunteers learnt new skills through volunteering, while 92% said they would recommend volunteering at parkrun.
parkrun is a fun event that will keep you coming back. Due to its super-friendly nature, parkrun has grown in 22 countries worldwide. By planting this seed of positivity in your child’s life you are opening a world where the combination of being active and healthy is a fun activity they share each week among their peers!
So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking to get your child into a positive community of physical activity and fun, consider joining parkrun. It’s a fantastic way for your child to embrace a healthy lifestyle and make friends while enjoying the great outdoors. Let’s empower Irish children to acquire the physical, cognitive, and emotional skills to help them lead healthy and happy lives.
James Dowling, parkrun Ireland
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