The Daily Mile a runaway success in making our children healthier

Source: The Irish Independent

Date: 19-May-2019

Children are benefiting from an initiative that has got them moving, writes Frank Greally.

It’s just a year since Athletics Ireland, in association with the Local Sports Partnerships, hosted the official launch of The Daily Mile in Ireland at St Brigid’s National School in Castleknock and Blennerville Primary School in Tralee. It has been a fast, exciting and deeply fulfilling 12-month journey for me in my new role as ambassador for The Daily Mile, which has now been embraced by over 800 primary schools all over Ireland, with new schools signing up every day.

Professor Niall Moyna, Clinical Exercise Physiologist in the School Of Health and Human Performance at Dublin City University said to me: “According to the World Health Organisation, on current trends, for the first time in the history of humanity, many children today will not outlive their parents because of poor lifestyle – particularly lack of exercise.

“Our research has already shown that some unfit 15-year-old boys have blood vessels similar to those of a 55-year-old man, mostly due to their low levels of physical activity.

“Looking at chronic disease trends, many children will spend most of their lives in poor health because something as simple as running a mile a day can have a profound impact on lowering the risk of chronic diseases.”

Moyna’s words resonated as I watched children take part in The Daily Mile at St Patrick’s National School in Slane. It was a pure joy to see children run and jog around a lovely green field and I felt compelled to join them for a few laps in the summer sunshine. I have seen remarkable results being achieved by children who participate in The Daily Mile in schools all across the country. Teachers talk about children having better concentration, higher levels of energy and improved social interaction – a direct result of running or jogging for 15 minutes a day.

“When children go out for a walk or a run they are more settled in themselves,” says Catherina McKiernan, a former long-distance runner from Ireland, summing up its value. “From my own experience, I have run from a young age and I know the long-term benefits running has given me. That’s why I want to encourage even more school principals and teachers all over the country to adopt The Daily Mile and make it part of their school day.

“The Daily Mile will build a gradual and natural base of endurance and good health that will help sustain them in the years ahead.”

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