Is it time for you to go the extra mile for your pupils?

With growing levels of child obesity and physical inactivity, schools throughout the UK are coming under increased pressure to help find a solution. Whilst many of the initiatives used by schools have proved to be ineffective, a new project, The Daily Mile, is already showing impact.

What is the Daily Mile Challenge?

If you haven’t come across The Daily Mile Challenge yet, it’s a relatively new project with a simple aim: to get all children running, jogging or even walking for 1 mile (around 15 minutes), every day, whilst at school. The project has been taken up in 25 countries so far and over 2000 UK schools have already signed up to take part.

Designed to be a social activity, children are asked to jog at their own pace with their friends, outside in the fresh air. If they need to walk for a while to catch their breath, that’s okay too. By taking part in The Daily Mile, schools can help the youngsters improve their physical and mental health and their social and emotional wellbeing.

Marking out your mile

To make sure that your Daily Mile happens in a safe and risk-free way, it is highly recommended that you provide your pupils with a set route. This will prevent children going ‘off-piste’, getting lost or bumping into each other.

The best solution for providing a set route is to create a pathway or track that pupils can run on. As many schools don’t have space for a mile-long route, a good option is to create a smaller circuit that children can run several laps of. This can be more economical too. Once you have decided the route, the next step is to consider the type of track you want.

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There is a range of options you can choose for the surfacing and marking out of your Daily Mile track.

If you already have adequate surfacing at your school, you could simply add some playground markings: basic lines which children can follow or run between, much like markings on an athletics track. Thermoplastic playground markings are safe, inexpensive and maintenance free. They’re quick and easy to install and come with a 3-year guarantee. You can also choose colours that are different to other playground markings that you have installed, so there will be no confusion for the children.

If you want your Daily Mile track to have a purpose-built surface, there are several solutions you can choose from, including artificial grass, rubber mulch, block paving and wetpour surfacing. Whilst these may be more expensive than simple playground markings, they can provide a more suitable surface for your pupil’s needs. You can keep your Daily Mile track costs to a minimum by installing a shorter circuit that children need to run several laps of.

Block Paving

Block paving

Block Paving

Resin Bound Gravel

Resin Bound Gravel

Resin Bound Gravel

Artificial Grass

Low maintenance all weather play surface.

Rubber Mulch

Rubber Mulch

Rubber Mulch

Wetpour Surfacing

Wetpour Surfacing

Wetpour Surfacing

What are the benefits of The Daily Mile?

Makes children more active and fitter and Improves cardiovascular health
Improves bone density and muscle strength and enhances balance and motor skills
Can prevent anxiety and depression and potentially help with conditions like asthma and diabetes
Burns off calories and can improve behaviour and focus back in the classroom

Advantages over other initiatives

Unlike some of the other health initiatives launched in schools, The Daily Mile is easy to manage. There’s no need for staff training, it takes just 15 minutes a day, the activity takes place outside in the fresh air, so you don’t need to reserve indoor space, and there is no equipment to set up or tidy away. You don’t even need children to get changed, they can run in their uniforms.

An event, not a competition

Unlike running in PE, The Daily Mile is intended to be a non-competitive, social event where children can run at their own pace with their friends. This makes it fun to participate in and inclusive: every child can take part and complete the mile successfully regardless of age or ability.

Daily Mile track funding

There are numerous ways to raise funds for your Daily Mile track. One avenue is to apply for a grant. These are often available for playgrounds, sports and healthy living initiatives and at ESP Play we have specialist funding advisors to help point you in the right direction.

Many schools raise much of the funds they need in-house. Perhaps the most obvious way to start is with a sponsored Daily Mile. There are countless other fundraising activities you can do with the help of pupils and the PTA. For more details, read our recent post on funding for school playgrounds.

By providing just 15 minutes of exercise each school day, this simple to run project is improving pupils’ physical and mental health and having positive effects on behaviour and attainment.