The Daily Mile

Are your children match fit?

Children come in all shapes and sizes and their fitness levels vary considerably – they always have.

But there is no getting away from the fact that we do see ‘bigger’ children. The high prevalence of physical inactivity and low level of healthy eating habits is commonplace and so you won’t be surprised to learn that 22 million children under the age of 5 years are overweight. Obese children are more likely to grow into obese adults.

Ali Oliver, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, thinks that accessible, inclusive and purposeful sport, play and PE have to play their part in tackling not just obesity but also mental health issues. No one is really going to disagree with this and into this mix we can add a daily dose of 1609.34 meters, 1760 yards, 5280 feet or 63360 inches.

Sedentary lifestyles are far from healthy and this is where schools can help. One initiative that is getting a lot of press at the moment is the Daily Mile and it is a phenomenon sweeping schools.

The aim of The Daily Mile is to improve the physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of our children – regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances.

The Daily Mile is a simple enough idea – children run or jog outdoors for 15 minutes with their friends. Although children can go at their own pace and they can walk to get their breath, the goal is to run or jog for the full 15 minutes.

The Daily Mile website lists the following benefits:

  • It takes place over just 15 minutes, with children averaging a mile each day.
  • Children run outside in the fresh air – and the weather is a benefit, not a barrier.
  • There’s no set up, tidy up, or equipment required.
  • No training is needed for teachers.
  • Children run in their uniforms so no kit or changing time is needed.
  • It’s social, non-competitive and fun.
  • The children return to class ready to learn.
  • It helps to improve fitness and healthy weight.
  • It encourages children to be aware of their health.
  • It’s fully inclusive; every child, whatever their circumstances, age or ability, succeeds at The Daily Mile.

Whilst running around the playground is nothing new, as a dedicated social activity for 15 minutes everyday then the Daily Mile is unique because this is a social commitment to fitness that involves everyone.

It was headteacher of St Ninians Primary School in Stirling who first came up with the idea for the Daily Mile after hearing from a volunteer that the school’s children weren’t fit. She had children running round the field for 15 minutes each day and after a month she realised something had changed: the children were coming back into class happy and ready for learning.

The success of the Daily Mile soon spread and it is now an intervention that many schools are joining in with.

The Daily Mile website offers plenty of free advice, resources and inspiration for schools including a starter pack and letter to parents which you can find here.

Just one more thing…..the Daily Mile is devoted to promoting a fitter and healthier school and so that means teachers have to play their part too by being positive role models and taking part.

Good mental, physical and emotional health are essential characteristics for a teacher to have if they work with children so the Daily Mile can represent a culture change for everyone in the school.

Teachers often go the extra mile, why not the Daily Mile as well?

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