Article title: The Daily Mile initiative: Exploring physical activity and the acute effects on executive function and academic performance in primary school children.
Research conducted by the University of Leeds Beckett evaluated the acute impact of The Daily Mile on children’s maths fluency performance and executive function, and explored the amount of moderate-to-vigorous- physical activity (MVPA) children accumulate while participating in The Daily Mile.
303 children from 11 primary schools who were already implementing The Daily Mile participated in the study. Half of the children completed The Daily Mile and the other half (control group) continued with normal lessons. Executive function and maths fluency performance (a measure of academic performance) were assessed before and immediately after both conditions. To assess children’s physical activity levels, they wore accelerometers. Results revealed significant improvement in the children’s maths fluency performance after completing The Daily Mile, in comparison to the control group. No significant results for executive function were found. The Daily Mile provided children with 10-minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity – a third of daily in-school recommendations from Chief Medical Officers. Children’s engagement levels were highly varied, with the accumulation of moderate to vigorous physical activity ranging from 5 to 15-minutes.
The findings suggest that one session of The Daily Mile has a benefit on accumulating moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, with individual variability in children’s engagement levels. In addition, this study found some effects on maths fluency performance, which support further investigation around the acute effects of The Daily Mile on a range of educational outcomes.