The benefits of active mile initiatives within schools

By GreaterSport | 26 June 2020 | TAGS: The Daily Mile, Children and young people

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Following the March release of the Public Health England (PHE) Active Mile report, we thought it was important that as an organisation we release our response to the findings.

In the report, PHE state that Active Mile Initiatives (AMIs) are those that “support pupils to be active during the school day by providing regular opportunities for them to move”. PHE go on to state that AMIs are structured activities whereby children are presented with the opportunity to move around a marked route for a dedicated period of time (i.e. 15 minutes) at a self-directed pace.

Research into these sorts of initiatives, such as The Daily MileTM, have found that in order for them to benefit school related outcomes including attainment, behaviour and concentration there are particular considerations to be met. These include AMIs occurring on a regular basis, 3-4 times a week. Research has found that taking part in The Daily Mile on a regular basis can improve aerobic fitness and have long lasting health benefits, this also applies to other AMIs.

This then begs the question, why is aerobic fitness so important and why 3-4 times a week? Research has found that increased cardiorespiratory fitness is related to more favourable physical health outcomes in children, with larger benefits seen for higher intensities (i.e. running). Furthermore, higher levels of physical activity is associated with reduced symptoms of depression in school aged children and youth. With this in mind, it is apparent that both intensity and duration matter, meaning that for the biggest benefits, running The Daily Mile, or other AMI, for 15 minutes, 3-4 times a week will have the greatest benefits to children’s overall physical and mental health.

Of course, we all know that when starting something new, wholesale change takes time. For this reason, it’s important that some guiding principles are in place to support the sustainable implementation of AMIs. The Daily Mile calls upon 10 core principles to ensure that children and teachers are appropriately supported on their journey. These principles are designed to support schools and provide an enriched environment which focuses on the academic, social and physical growth of its pupils

Greater Manchester Daily Mile Coordinator, Matt Domville said; “If Active Mile Initiatives are to become a staple of each school’s school day, of course there needs to be flexibility in implementation to promote sustainability. It is my role and ambition, now more than ever, to ensure that as children are returning to school, they are provided with an opportunity to thrive academically, physically and socially.

The Daily Mile provides a small but meaningful window of opportunity during the school day where children get to explore their own physical limits in a safe and supportive environment.”

St Peters Primary School in Salford have been using The Daily Mile to inspire their children. Below are just some of the positive things the children have said about the programme;

  • It’s the best 15 minutes of the day! – LS, Y4
  • I love doing daily mile, we get to go round with friends from other classes. – MS, Y5
  • It’s brilliant how we get to go round to music, and I love it when it’s my turn to DJ. – HL, Y4
  • I like doing it with the big boys and girls, they really help me and make it fun. – LB, Y1
  • It’s a great break in the afternoon and it wakes you up. – IH, Y6
  • Sometimes I run, sometimes I walk, but each time it just makes me feel better. – AB, Y2

To find out more about how The Daily Mile can benefit your school email Matt Domville at [email protected] or to sign up to the initiative, click here.

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