If you’ve been watching ITV recently, you may have seen it’s been showing an advert for The Daily Mile, an initiative which aims to improve the health and fitness of every child by getting them to run, jog, walk or propel their wheelchairs for fifteen minutes, each school day.
If you haven’t seen the ad, check it out now.
As you can see, getting your school to participate in The Daily Mile is a great opportunity. This is why over 7000 UK schools are now participating and new schools are getting involved every day. Indeed, the UK initiative is so popular it's now been adopted in 55 countries across all continents: from Kettering to Kathmandu, children everywhere are being given the chance to improve their physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.
So, why is The Daily Mile so beneficial and why are so many schools taking the plunge? Here are six ways your school and your pupils can benefit from The Daily Mile.
1. Improves body condition
Just as a good breakfast sets you up for the day, good body fitness during your youth can have benefits long into the future. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. It is good to know then, that doing The Daily Mile can have a positive effect on a child’s body composition. It improves cardiovascular health, makes bones denser and builds muscular strength.
Improving body composition while young can help the body defend itself against things like osteoporosis and heart disease later in life.
2. Helps fight obesity
As primary teachers will know, the National Child Measurement Programme measures the height and weight of pupils in reception and year six to ascertain whether they are at a healthy weight or not. According to their most recent literature, around 10% of reception pupils are very overweight. By year 6, the figure has doubled to 20% and the number of very overweight year 6 pupils has increased year on year.
When children take part in the daily mile, they will be physically active for around 75 minutes every week. That helps them burn more calories and, in doing so, goes some way to helping pupils maintain a healthy weight.
3. Can benefit certain physical health conditions
Regular physical activity has been shown to benefit a number of medical conditions, some of which are common in younger people. For example, those pupils who suffer from asthma or diabetes may find that The Daily Mile helps their condition.
4. Helps the development of physical skills
Developing physical skills is a key part of the EYFS and primary curriculum, so it is helpful to know that getting your pupils to take part in The Daily Mile has been shown to improve gross and fine motor skills as well as overall balance.
5. Improves mental health and wellbeing
GPs refer around 400,000 children a year for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. At such a young age, not only do these conditions affect their personal lives, but they can also impede their academic progress. This can have a negative effect on their ability to get a place at university or achieve the career they want further down the line.
Regular physical activity, such as The Daily Mile, has been proven to have a positive effect on mental health, increasing happiness and reducing stress. Indeed, it doesn’t just help those with such conditions, it can also reduce the chance of mental health problems happening to others.
6. Understanding the importance of health
The organisers of The Daily Mile have discovered that children who participate become increasingly aware of the need to be healthy and are keener to take responsibility for it.
In a society like ours, where children are bombarded with the temptations of junk food and where a lot of free time is spent glued to a screen, many messages about leading healthy lifestyles don’t have the impact we want them to. If The Daily Mile is helping children to be accountable to themselves for their own health, this can only be a good thing.
Setting up a course suitable for the Daily Mile
If your school playground is 50 yards long, a child will need to run over 35 lengths to complete a mile. That may look like a challenge during week one, but as the weeks progress, simply running from one end to the other, over and over, is not going to keep everyone motivated.
What’s helping many schools, is to create a course suitable for the daily mile using existing pathways and incorporating the use of playground markings. Simple line markings can be used to create a more exciting and less repetitive route around the school that pupils will find more enjoyable to follow. At the same time, you can increase the challenge and the fun by adding a range of fun markings into the course, such as a roadway, twisty lines, hurdle markings, hopscotch steps and roundabouts. If your pathway needs to intertwine, you can even add a zebra crossing.
Of course, if you want to go further, you can also add bridges, Trim Trails obstacles, like jungle bars and balance beams, or even build in one of our modular Free Flow climbing frames. There’s no end to how exciting you can make your Daily Mile.
If you are looking for help creating a course for your school’s Daily Mile, call us on 01282 43 44 45.
'The Daily Mile' name and logo are trademarks of The Daily Mile Foundation, Hawkslease, Chapel Lane, Lyndhurst SO43 7FG (Registered Charity Number 1166911). All rights reserved.