Be careful, but get outside for some fun exercise with the kids

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Date: 30-March-2020

With so many children stuck at home because of the Covid-19 restrictions and school closures, there’s a danger they’ll also become stuck on the sofa or on a screen – or both.

But it is possible to leave the house for one form of exercise a day, so long as we maintain social distancing from people outside our own household, and there’s never been a better time for kids to start doing The Daily Mile.

The easy children’s exercise initiative was started by headteacher Elaine Wyllie eight years ago after she became concerned about her pupils’ lack of physical fitness. The idea is simply that children walk, run or jog – whatever pace suits them best – for 15 minutes every day, whether they’re at school or at home, to improve their health and wellbeing.

Though called The Daily Mile because children tend to average running a mile in the 15 minutes, the distance isn’t compulsory and the aim of the initiative is for participants to enjoy themselves, improve over time and develop healthy habits for a lifetime.

And now parents are marooned at home too, there’s no reason for them not to start doing The Daily Mile along with their kids, and enjoy the same benefits – with the added bonus of doing something healthy alongside their children.


This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the content creator, Belfast Telegraph. To read the article in full, please click the link below.

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Dutch study shows positive result on children’s aerobic fitness over 12 weeks

Article title: The effect of The Daily Mile on primary school children’s aerobic fitness after 12 weeks: A controlled trial.

Dr Jorien Slot-Heijs and researchers from the Mulier Instituut, Netherlands, conducted research at 9 Dutch primary schools to investigate:

  • The effects of performing The Daily Mile for 12 weeks on children’s aerobic fitness levels
  • If additional personal support for teachers impacted the effectiveness of The Daily Mile

They concluded:

  • The Daily Mile can yield a beneficial effect on children’s aerobic fitness within a 12 week period when practiced 3-4 times a week.
  • Additional personal support for teachers did not benefit intervention effectiveness or implementation over a 12 week period.

Dr Jorien Slot-Heijs, Mulier Instituut: “This study contributes to a growing body of research showing that The Daily Mile, a relatively simple physical activity intervention, can increase children’s aerobic fitness.”

Read the full article online, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on 25th March 2020.

The Daily Mile is able to improve cardiorespiratory fitness when practiced three times a week

Article title: The Daily Mile is able to improve cardiorespiratory fitness when practiced three times a week.

Dr Gennaro Boccia (Research Fellow at the School of Exercise and Sport Sciences) and researchers at the University of Torino investigated the weekly frequency effect of doing The Daily Mile on cardiorespiratory fitness.

They concluded:

  • Executing The Daily Mile on average 3 times a week was more beneficial to children’s fitness (9% increase) than practising only 2 times a week.
  • Teachers are strongly recommended to implement The Daily Mile at least 3 times a week, as per core principles, to see appreciable effects on cardiorespiratory fitness.

Dr Gennaro Boccia, University of Torino: “Therefore, the present results corroborated previous research on the efficacy of The Daily Mile in ameliorating the physical fitness of children.”

Read the full article online, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on 24th March 2020.

The Daily Mile makes children happier and is good for their learning

Article title: A citizen science study of short physical activity breaks at school: Improvements in cognition and wellbeing with self-paced activity.

The Universities of Stirling, Edinburgh and Highlands & Islands conducted a citizen science project, involving 332 schools (5,463 pupils), which was aired by BBC Learning’s Terrific Scientific.

They investigated whether taking a short break from the classroom to complete 15 minutes of self-paced physical activity (i.e. The Daily Mile) had an impact on the wellbeing and cognition of pupils, in comparison to doing an exhaustive (bleep test) or doing no physical activity (control group).

They found that 15 minutes of self-paced outdoor activity was beneficial for pupils’ cognition and wellbeing, and compared to the control group, resulted in a:

  • 7% increase in alertness
  • 7% increase in mood
  • 7% increase in verbal memory
  • 7 millisecond improvement in reaction time
  • 16% reduction in errors on inhibition test

Dr Naomi Brooks, University of Stirling: “Ultimately, we found that 15 minutes of self-paced exercise [such as The Daily Mile] can significantly improve a child’s mood, attention and memory – enhancing their ability to learn.”

Dr Colin Moran, University of Stirling: “Overall, our study concluded that exercising leads to improvements in children’s mood and cognition.”

Read the full article online or download the paper, published in BMC Medicine on 17th March 2020.

Press Release: Short, self-paced physical activity breaks may help children learn better


Outdoor classroom breaks involving 15 minutes of self-paced physical activity may improve children’s attention, memory and wellbeing, research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine suggests.

A team of researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Highlands and Islands, United Kingdom, found that compared with 15 minutes of intense physical activity or spending time outside without exercising, children whose classroom break involved 15 minutes of self-paced running or walking had greater improvements in attention, memory and wellbeing.

Dr Josie Booth, the corresponding author said: “Physical activity is believed to be beneficial to cognition and academic performance; however, the evidence for this in children is inconsistent. We aimed to examine the immediate impact of short physical activity breaks at school on children’s cognition and wellbeing and to determine whether any benefits from this activity were due to the intensity of physical activity or from just taking a break outside of the classroom. This activity was similar to The Daily Mile initiative.

The authors used a citizen science approach in conjunction with the BBC Terrific Scientific to collect their data. Teachers at schools around the UK led pupils in three types of activity, each lasting 15 minutes; running or walking at the pupils’ own pace, intense running and being outside without exercising. 5,463 children with an average age of nine years old took part in the study.

Immediately before and within 20 minutes after finishing each activity, children completed computer-based tasks to measure wellbeing and cognition, including memory and attention. Scores for wellbeing and cognitive tasks, including working memory, improved most after self-paced exercise compared to intense physical activity or no exercise. The effects of intense exercise and no exercise were similar, however children’s scores for alertness were lower after breaks involving no physical activity.

Children reported more positive moods after self-paced exercise than intense physical activity or no exercise. This improvement was found be partially responsible for the improved working memory associated with self-paced activity. Children who were more physically fit tended to have greater increases in alertness after self-paced exercise compared to less fit children.

Dr Colin Moran, one of the co-authors of the study said: “Schools, pupils, teachers and parents may worry that taking time out of lessons to do physical activity is not beneficial to classroom learning. However, the evidence shows that pupils are more alert, feel better, and pay better attention after self-paced physical activity when compared to just sitting”.

The authors caution that improvements to wellbeing and cognition were small and that their data did not take into account other factors that can affect wellbeing and cognition such as diet and sleep or other exercise done by children during their leisure time or while travelling to school. Further research should explore the influence of these factors on children’s wellbeing and cognition after physical activity breaks.



Media contacts

MediaZoo for The Daily Mile Foundation: Chris Hall – 07739 571 634

BMC Medicine: Deborah Kendall –

Love The Daily Mile: Love Your Heart

Source: Stranmillis University College

Date: 02-March-2020

On St. Valentine’s Day this year Stranmillis University College grounds turned into a sea of red where over 100 children, staff and invited guests ran The Daily Mile in red t-shirts sponsored by The British Heart Foundation, as part of the NI Science Festival. Giving a “hearty” Stranmillis welcome, Professor Heaslett Principal of Stranmillis University introduced the guest of honour on this most special day; the founder of The Daily Mile, Elaine Wyllie MBE.

Elaine was the head teacher at St Ninians Primary School, Stirling, Scotland, when she founded The Daily Mile. Concerned by the children’s lack of fitness, classes were encouraged to run around the school field for 15 minutes a day to improve their overall health – and so, on February 13th 2012, The Daily Mile was born. It was such a privilege that Elaine celebrated The Daily Mile’s 8th birthday with all of us at Stranmillis.

Elaine and her husband John had travelled from Scotland to be part of The Daily Mile launch for Moneynick and Duneane Shared Education Partnership in Learning primary schools. It was very fitting that the children sang “Happy Birthday, Daily Mile”, to her and then listened to her wonderful words of encouragement. Elaine said “I am delighted to be part of a wonderful morning with all the schools and all their children, along with the British Heart Foundation, working together to improve the health of the children. I’m so glad that The Daily Mile is here as part of that, making such a difference. All the children were out of breath, their cheeks were glowing and their hearts were clearly pumping fast”.

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the content creator, Stranmillis University College. To read the article in full, please click the link below.

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Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games launch new community programme

Source: The Birmingham Press

Date: 05-March-2020

The United by Birmingham 2022 programme is bringing together ambitious and innovative West Midlands based community projects that share a common purpose with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

United by Birmingham 2022 is recognising grass-roots organisations that are having a positive impact on the communities they serve across a diverse range of subjects. This includes, but is not limited to, projects that aim to improve skills, offer training, provide volunteering resources, benefit the environment, encourage participation in sport, or deliver youth engagement activities.

To mark Wednesday’s launch, over forty representatives from twelve local charities and social enterprises are coming together in Oozells Square, Brindley Place in Birmingham city centre to take part in a 5km United by Birmingham 2022 run.

The twelve founding projects of United by Birmingham 2022 programme are:

  • Goodgym – Group Sessions – During group sessions, GoodGym members run to visit isolated, older people, to provide friendly contact and to help with practical tasks.
  • The Prince’s Trust – Youth Summit 2021 – Using the United by Birmingham programme to support the 2021 Youth Summit, which hopes to increase engagement with young people across the region.
  • Canal & River Trust – Community Activity and Wellbeing Programme – This programme provides free events and taster sessions in fishing, performing, running, walking, cycling and paddling and works with partners to ensure regular physical activity takes place.
  • EmployabilityUK – Inspiring Young Birmingham programme, which will recruit new volunteers and provide consistent training and online support for young people.
  • Sense, – Connecting communities programme which will help the Sense TouchBase Pears Centre become a centre of excellence for disability arts.
  • Jericho Foundation – awarded for their Equiano project which helps raise awareness of their cause and encourages people to support their work
  • Sport Birmingham – supporting The Daily Mile Commonwealth Challenge, to amplify their influence and encourage more people to take up this challenge.
  • Acorns Children’s Hospice, – for the Gift of Time programme which helps emphasise the urgency and immediacy of the need for communities to rally together for the greater good.
  • Bringing Hope, has been awarded the United by Birmingham mark for two projects – Food Taste and Talk Pots and their‘Sports and Talk Spot events
  • Witton Lodge Community Association – has been awarded the United by Birmingham mark for their Perry Common Games events, to improve health, wellbeing and community relations in the local area.
  • World Against Single Use Plastic – Schools Engagement Canal clean-up programme, a project that helps to make the local environment better
  • Compass Support – sporting development programme, to promote and celebrate their intergenerational activities that reduce isolation and encourage an increase in physical activity.

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the content creator, The Birmingham Press. To read the article in full, please click the link below.

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St Mary’s Catholic Junior School
“We can see a particular benefit to children who suffer from asthma”

Fact File

Where we’re based: Merseyside, England

Roll: 235

Our Daily Mile Story

Mrs Fleetwood-Redmond is the Head of St Mary’s Junior School and tells us about their experience of The Daily Mile.

We have been doing The Daily Mile for around 3 years! I went to a St Helens PE network meeting and saw Elaine Wyllie MBE speak briefly about the impact and simplicity of The Daily Mile. The following day, we gave it ago and we haven’t looked back since then!

Initially, when we started The Daily Mile we just ran around any available space outside for example the edge of the playground or the field. That’s just one of the unique and wonderful things about The Daily Mile, there’s no initial cost or set up required. However, overtime as we have seen the impact on our children, we decided to invest some of our Sports Premium Funding in creating a running track. This provides us with a dedicated space which enables more than one class at a time to participate in The Daily Mile.

I think like most schools when you launch a new initiative you experience some barriers. As staff, we worried about the impact on an already busy timetable. However, the flexibility of The Daily Mile and when it takes place, combats any real issues. The Daily Mile can be done in the middle of a lesson when behaviour and concentration is lacking, and ensures that once the children return to the classroom they are ready to continue to learn.

The Daily Mile has had a huge impact for us as a school. The fitness, energy levels and stamina of our children have improved significantly. Last Summer, we held our first ever long distance fun run, which really showed the improvement on how far our children can now run over a sustained distance. It was wonderful to see the impact and celebrate together as a school family how far we have come on our Daily Mile journey.

Our children have become more aware of their own health and fitness, and are learning to take responsibility of this from a young age. We have seen an improvement of gross and fine motor skills, balance and we can even see a particular benefit to children who suffer from asthma.

It’s FUN!!! As a school family, it allows us time to go outside, chat and socialise in a relaxed environment. The children particularly enjoy The Daily Mile in the RAIN! Being outdoor allows our children to have feelings through connecting with the seasons and weather that they may not usually enjoy within the confines of the school day. Running in the rain, wind and hail has significantly improved our children’s resilience and determination!

The Daily Mile raises moral, confidence and self-esteem. In particular, we have seen a significant impact on the children who may usually need additional encouragement and support to participate in PE sessions. This is because there is no sense of failure, everyone succeeds in The Daily Mile because it’s not a race.

We have also received positive feedback from parents and family members who have said they have seen an impact on their children’s sleeping and eating habits, as well as improved physical stamina in activities they participate in outside of school.

One of my favourite things about The Daily Mile is how it breaks down barriers and is inclusive. It requires no kit, specialist equipment, money, transport or resources yet delivers a huge impact. My advice would be don’t delay…just start today! As a school like us you will never look back.

Quotes from pupils and staff

“The easiest strategy to implement, with a wealth of benefits for the whole school family!”

Mrs Katie Fleetwood-Redmond Head of School

“I feel more fit and healthy! Doing The Daily Mile gives me confidence to go out and achieve in other sports”

-Y4 pupil

“The Daily Mile is just part of our everyday school life, we love doing The Daily Mile as a school family!”

-Y6 pupil

“Since starting The Daily Mile, I have seen a huge impact on my classes behaviour and concentration. When there is a dip in the day and the children are getting restless, we go out and complete The Daily Mile. When we return to class after their 15 minute run time, they really settle and are ready to work again”

-Miss Amy McCormack Y3 Teacher

“We have quite a lot of children with sensory needs and they have sensory diets which The Daily Mile caters for. Children with sensory diets and needing that sensory movement break are allowed to complete this in an inclusive environment.  The impact for this group of children has been incredible.”

-Mrs Nicola Follin KS2 Lead and SENCO