Helping Girls on the Run Keep Moving
We should all have a goal to chase, and Girls on the Run of Ottawa and Allegan Counties helps many school-age girls find that ambition on the track.
Northwood Foot and Ankle Center is a proud supporter of Girls on the Run. We want all girls not only to recognize the potential they have in themselves, but to be fully equipped to reach the finish line without foot pain or sports injuries getting in their way.
What is Girls on the Run?
Girls on the Run of Ottawa and Allegan Counties seeks to inspire girls from 3rd-8th grades to discover the strength within. It is not just a power they have over their own bodies and discipline, but also to influence others and their communities in positive ways.
“We believe that every girl is inherently full of power and potential,” the organization states. “By knowing they are the leaders of their lives, these are the girls who will change the world.”
Girls on the Run conducts programs for girls at schools throughout our area. These programs last for around 10 weeks and focus on running training, character development, teamwork, and building social and emotional competency.
The program culminates with a 5K event that brings individual school groups together to celebrate all their hard work and accomplishments. Girls from Holland, Zeeland, West Ottawa and other surrounding schools will run this year’s 5K on Saturday, June 2nd at Coopersville Public Schools.
Why is Running Part of This?
There are other programs out there that focus on building life skills and character in our youth, but are not as centered on physical activity. Why does Girls on the Run have a commitment to running?
We, like Girls on the Run, believe that physical activity and mental health have a connection. According to studies, the confidence the average adolescent girl has in herself drops about double that experienced by the average adolescent boy. This often correlates with increased risks of anxiety and depression and a plummet in the rates of physical activity.
Running is a form of physical activity that has a relatively easy level of entry. You don’t have to already be a physical powerhouse to get started. It also has the benefits of being inspirational both in terms of personal improvement and cooperative achievement.
If you have ever participated in a running event yourself, you might have noticed how much of a comradery seems to exist between all the runners there. It doesn’t matter if you are elite or someone running a 5K for the first time. The fact you’re there is something to be celebrated. It is that same level of interpersonal celebration and encouragement which drives Girls on the Run’s programs.
According to an independent study conducted on the Girls on the Run program, girls who started the program at the lowest levels of activity, had a reported 40% increase in activity once it ended. Of girls interviewed, 97% stated that they also learned critical life skills through the weeks they were engaged. Those are results we are happy to support.
Getting Your Girl Ready to Run
Starting in a running program is a great step forward for most people, no matter their age. However, measures should always be taken to reduce one’s risks of foot and ankle injuries in the process. It can be terrible to have to sit on the sidelines while watching others participate.
Girls on the Run knows how to get its participants into physical activity in safer ways. It is essential that no one engages in any physical activity program too quickly or with too much intensity before their body has acclimated to it. This can result in painful overuse injuries such as stress fractures, Achilles tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis. Fortunately, knowing your limits and pushing them safely is an important element of building fitness and character.
As a parent or guardian, there are additional ways you can support your child on her running journey. First—and very importantly—she should have the right shoes for the job. General “sneakers” are not as effective as running shoes for providing the feet with needed support and stability. If your child has an abnormality in gait or foot structure (such as overpronation), they should have a running shoe that provides additional support for that case. A trained associate at a sporting goods store will often be able to help you, and so can we.
If you know your child has any sort of pre-existing foot or ankle condition, such as heel or arch pain, we recommend scheduling an appointment with us before starting a program such as Girls on the Run. We may be able to provide both care and preventative advice that can make her experience much more comfortable and worry-free.
From Start to Finish
We are excited to follow all the progress Girls on the Run makes at our local schools this spring. Feel free to follow and cheer along with us on our Facebook page. Community support means a lot!
And whether you would like your child to have a pre-run checkup, treatment for a sports injury, or care for any other foot or ankle concern you might have, we are happy to help. You can call us to schedule an appointment at either of our two area offices:
- Holland – (616) 393-8886
- Joseph – (269) 429-7670
If you prefer to reach us electronically, please fill out our online contact form.