Why You Should Teach Your Child to Run, Part 1

There are six excellent reasons why you should teach your children to run.

We will discuss each of these in our blog.

Reason One—Brain Growth and Development

Running is not just a sport or a means of staying fit and healthy.  Running is a function of the human brain. Between birth and six years of age, the brain grows at an enormous pace that will never be equaled in one’s lifetime.  Running is a function of the human cortex, the most sophisticated part of the human brain.  The cortex is responsible for all of the high-level functions unique to human beings.  The ability to read, understand language, identify objects by touch alone, speak, and write are all the responsibilities of the human cortex.

The cortex begins to develop at about one year of age and has completed its growth by six years of age.  Running is one of the most sophisticated mobility functions of the cortex.

As every mother knows in her heart, tiny children have an incredible capacity for learning. This capacity is at its peak between birth and six years of age.  Then the brain’s growth gradually slows. These precious years when learning is at its easiest are often wasted, and a child learns only by accident.

For example, between birth and six the average child learns how to understand and speak his native language. No one ever teaches him how to understand or speak this completely new language. At an amazing rate, the brain learns what the words mean and then learns how to use them to communicate.  The tiny child learns all this without the slightest effort or thought.

Those of us who have attempted to learn a language after age six, when we go to school, know how extremely difficult and frustrating it can be. Even after years of study, most people never succeed in speaking such a language as well as any six-year-old speaks his native language.

Running, as a sophisticated function of the cortex, helps to develop the cortex.  As a result, the other sophisticated functions of the cortex—reading, understanding, language and writing—are helped to develop.

Our three-year-olds love to read children’s books independently. We have my father’s book How To Teach Your Baby To Read to thank for this. They also adore doing sophisticated manual activities, such as playing the violin.  We have our great friend Shinichi Suzuki to thank for this.  Our three-year-olds also write as well as children twice their age. All of these abilities are encouraged by the cortical development that results from running.

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