As soon as the children at one primary school in Stirling hear the words “daily mile”, they down their pencils and head out of the classroom to start running laps around the school field.
For three-and-a-half years, all pupils at St Ninians primary have walked or run a mile each day. They do so at random times during the day, apparently happily, and despite the rise in childhood obesity across the UK, none of the children at the school are overweight.
The daily mile has done so much to improve these children’s fitness, behaviour and concentration in lessons that scores of nursery and primary schools across Britain are following suit and getting pupils to get up from their desks and take 15 minutes to walk or run round the school or local park.
Elaine Wyllie, headteacher of St Ninians, said: “I get at least two emails a day from other schools and local authorities asking how we do it. The thought of children across the country running every day because of something we’ve done is phenomenal.”
One in 10 children are obese when they start school at the age of four or five, according to figures from the Health & Social Care Information Centre, and this summer a study found that schoolchildren in England are the least fit they have ever been. Primary schools have therefore been quick to note the benefits of the daily mile. It has been introduced in schools in London, Gateshead, Wales and other parts of Scotland, while others are planning to launch the initiative during this academic year. In Stirling alone, 30 schools have already started or are to start the daily mile.
“It’s a commonsense approach to children’s fitness, which is free and easy. The most important thing is that the children really enjoy it, otherwise you couldn’t sustain it. They come back in bright-eyed and rosy-cheeked, how children used to look. It’s joyous to see,” said Wyllie.
Read the full article over at theguardian.