Lars Becker

Running Increases Socialization and Self-Esteem Among the Kids from the SOS Children's Village

How Running Helps Children Grow Up

For the "Fit Kids" of the SOS Children's Village at Lake Ammersee, running is part of their weekly schedule. The observations of their running coaches coincide with scientific findings and also encourage parents to imitate them: running helps with socialization.

Wissenschaftlich erwiesen: Laufen unterstützt die Sozialisierung bei Kindern.
Running helps with socialization.

There are two running groups in the oldest SOS Children's Village in Germany at the beautiful Ammersee. The 4- to 8-year-olds call themselves "Flitzis". And the older ones meet every Tuesday in the "Fit Kids" squad to jog together for up to five kilometers - in any weather.

"Running Has High Therapeutic Value."

"The kids just enjoy running. They come back liberated and relaxed. And it also has a high therapeutic value. It's about achieving goals. And to feel comfortable in the group", reports Roger Kretschmann. In addition to music and theater projects, he is also responsible for the running groups in the SOS Children's Village. Just like Jan Volkmer-Beede, who emphasizes other advantages of the sports activity: "Running also helps children learn how to hold on. It's a voluntary offer, but if someone wants to join, he or she commits to be there for at least a year."

The observations of the running coaches are supported by the results of numerous studies on the socialization of children through sport. "In sports movement situations, for example, children deal with materials or rules, get involved (e.g. by inventing variations), cooperate, negotiate compromises and resolve conflicts. They make important social experiences, on which - if they are supported accordingly - "Life Skills" are established," wrote Katharina Rolff in her contribution for the Institute of Work and Technology of the Westfälischen Hochschule.

"Sport Reduces Aggression"

Sports activities also promote the self-esteem of young people. "In addition, frustration and aggression can be reduced by doing sport. Sport also conveys social values. A school trial in Bad Homburg has succeeded in empirically demonstrating the effects of daily exercise time and a high movement density on the primary performance capacities and social behavior of children," continues Rolff. Cognitive competence increases can also be observed.

For the "Fit Kids" from the SOS Children's Village at Lake Ammersee, running also brings great success. Joel (11) got second in the children's run of the ISPO Munich Night Run after 1.2 kilometers. Closely followed by the third placed Lukas (10). Much more important than the placement, however, was the joy on the faces of the two runners, who belonged to the children's group of the SOS Children's Village in Munich's Olympic Park.

ISPO Munich Night Run as the Perfect Start to the Season

"Running is always a very good feeling. It was really cool to be here," Joel reported and proudly said that he could do 100 push-ups. Also for the 14-year-old Saskia the start in Munich was "a special experience". But running for them - just like for the other children of the group of runners from Ammersee - is "always fun and relaxation" anyway. They take part in three to five races each year. Last year, a 60-kilometer relay around Lake Ammersee to mark the 60th anniversary of the SOS Children's Village was the absolute highlight. And in 2019 the children's run at the ISPO Munich Night Run is the perfect start to the season.

Intersport Invites Kids to ISPO Munich Night Run

The participation was made possible by the partner Intersport. The SOS Children's Village at Lake Ammersee was already supported with running shoes in 2018. Now the invitation to the ISPO Munich Night Run followed, Intersport took care of the bus transfer from and to the SOS Children's Village. "The proximity to Munich also suggested to invite the group. Fortunately, some children found each other who felt like it. The feedback from the facility on the run was very good, especially since one of the children finished second - although it was significantly younger than many of the other participants," commented Marcel Müller from Intersport Marketing.

The large dealer organisation has been a partner of SOS Children's Villages since 2018. and supports the facilities in making it possible for as many children as possible to participate in a wide range of sports. In addition to a large number of product donations, a soccer day and two sports action days were among the highlights for the SOS Children's Villages.

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Lars Becker