Children who are made to walk or run just one mile a day are significantly healthier than their sedentary peers, new research suggests.
Schools who take part in the Daily Mile initiative are more likely to have students of a healthy weight, who can also run faster, a study found.
The Daily Mile scheme was set up by a former headteacher in 2012. It involves pupils leaving the classroom for 15 minutes every day to walk, jog or run a mile by going around the playground several times.
According to the Daily Mile Foundation, more than 2,265 UK schools take part in the scheme, which has also been taken up by 3,600 schools worldwide.
Children who are made to walk or run just one mile a day are significantly healthier than their sedentary peers, new research suggests. The Daily Mile scheme was set up in 2012 (stock)
WHAT IS THE ‘DAILY MILE’ SCHEME?
Elaine Wyllie, who was the headteacher at St Ninian’s Primary School in Stirling, set up the Daily Mile to offer children a simple, inexpensive way to incorporate exercise into their daily regimens.
It involves pupils leaving the classroom for 15 minutes every day to walk, jog or run a mile by going around the playground several times.
Individual teachers decide when to incorporate the activity into the school day, which is done in addition to PE lessons and does not replace exercise during playtime.
Ms Wyllie claims she saw first hand that the initiative both improves children’s health and their concentration.
The Scottish Government encourages schools to take up the Daily Mile scheme, but has no plans to make it compulsory.
According to the Daily Mile Foundation, more than 2,265 UK schools take part in the initiative, which has also been taken up by 3,600 schools worldwide.
Increases daily activity time by nearly 10 minutes
Study author Dr Naomi Brooks, from Stirling University, told the BBC: ‘We observed a relative increase of 9.1 minutes per day in terms of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and a relative decrease of 18.2 minutes per day in sedentary time.
‘Children at the intervention school covered, on average, 39.1 metres more during the shuttle run, while their body composition improved too.’
The researchers wrote the Daily Mile is a ‘worthwhile intervention to introduce in schools and that it should be considered for inclusion in government policy, both at home and abroad.’
How the research was carried out
The researchers analysed 391 children aged between four and 12 years old from two primary schools in the local area.
One of the primary schools was taking part in the Daily Mile and the other was not.
The children wore accelerometers, which measure people’s speed of movement.
They also had their body fat measured and fitness assessed during short bursts of running.
Previous research suggests the Daily Mile reduces teenagers’ risk of depression (stock)
Daily Mile may protect teenagers from depression
This comes after research released last month suggested teenagers should be made to walk or run a mile every day to protect them against depression.
Experts believe a lack of exercise may be behind soaring rates of mental illness among young people.
Figures imply the amount of physical activity children get drops dramatically in secondary school.
Researchers from British Columbia University claim a Daily Mile scheme may help beat the blues.