Making running fun from an early age

Source: The Irish Times

Date: 29/05/2018

Those of us who run regularly know that running not only benefits our waistline but also helps to lift our mood, improve concentration and build our confidence. It’s just a pity that so many of us had to wait until adulthood or middle age to work this out. As empowering as it is to start running as an adult, it does make you realise that for years you have missed out on the best and cheapest stress-buster and mood-enhancer on the market.

I certainly wasn’t aware of the power of running when I was a teenager. In fact, running was something I actively tried to avoid. I didn’t consider myself sporty and never enjoyed running. PE was often about competition rather than participation in those days, and the focus was on the front runners rather than those struggling at the back.

I’m not the only one to pigeonhole myself into this “non-sporty” camp from childhood. I see it all the time when teaching adults in beginners’ running classes. Students often tell me that they cannot run. I spend as much time instilling belief and changing the mindset of these new runners as I do teaching them how to run comfortably. It is incredible how our perceptions of ourselves on the sporting scale can stay with us long after our PE experiences.

When kids enjoy fitness and exercise they don’t carry any of our sporting insecurities into adulthood nor set as many boundaries on their capabilities.

For both adults and children, the goal of running has broadened in recent years from completion to now an individual pursuit, a challenge to push ourselves to new limits, to set goals, and spend less time comparing with others and more time focusing on our own progress.

Although today’s children may have more technical distractions than we had in the form of phones, tablets and computer games, they do also have the benefit of some wonderful supports available to help them build confidence and fun in running from an early age.

The Daily Mile

A Scottish initiative originally, The Daily Mile involves 15 minutes of running, with walks where necessary, as part of the primary school day. The focus is on fun in a non-competitive atmosphere, where everyone is encouraged to join in and enjoy.

Apart from the general health and fitness improvements, the students return to their desks with better mood, behaviour, concentration and energy after their blast of fresh air.In conjunction with the launches we will be getting a recognition scheme in place so that kids in the schools will be getting a reward for doing the daily mile for a certain length of time. If they are doing the daily mile for 6 months you will get a certificate, If you do it for a year you will get a wristband,  and if you do it for 2 years you get a case study on the website and a plaque along with being put i a draw to win a visit from a sports star who endorses the daily mile

Following its pilot launch in Ireland last month, enthusiasm is building for the roll out of the The Daily Mile across the country in September. Athletics Ireland is responsible for the promotion and development of The Daily Mile in Ireland, and it will work in collaboration with local authorities and sports partnerships across the country. Interested schools and teachers are encouraged to sign up and get involved.

It’s not just teachers that are playing their part in showing children that running can be fun. Parents have their part to play in offering the opportunity to develop a lifetime love of running. Growing up I don’t remember many of my friend’s parents going running, but now we have a generation of children who have parents involved in everything from triathlons to 5ks and yoga.

Whether we are aware of it or not, having active parents has a profound impact on the child. They see exercise as a normal activity for all members of the family, not just the most talented at sport.

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

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What a Daily Mile run can do for your children’s health

Source: The Sunday Times

Date: 20-May-2018

The work carried out by The Daily Mile Foundation can be seen against a backdrop of growing levels of obesity and sedentary behaviour among children across the UK.  By acting now and introducing regular physical activity into their lives, we can improve the health outcomes for children now and when they are adults.

“Do we have to?” “Yes.”


“Because you’ll feel better.”

“I feel fine.”

“So do I, Dad.”

“And me.”

“It’s a fun experiment. It will be fun. Also, please.”

And so begins the Rudd Family Twice Daily Run. This exercise in exercising is based on The Daily Mile, a concept sweeping Fat Britain as if our lives depend upon it. Which, of course, they do. A third of 10- to 11-year-old children in England are overweight or obese. Your Olivers and your Fearnley-Whittingstalls have made a lot of sensible noise about what (on earth) we’re feeding them, but there is less hubbub about fitness.

The statistics on childhood activity make grim reading, so I won’t give you them. Suffice to say, Britain’s iKids are among the most inactive on the planet. In 2012, Elaine Wyllie, head teacher of St Ninians Primary School in Stirling, became concerned about the lack of fitness displayed by her pupils. She launched The Daily Mile: every child in the school jogs for 15 minutes a day. Within six months, “not one of our 57 primary 1 children was deemed overweight … attention levels and behaviour in class improved, and parents said their children are fitter, more active and alert.”

Wyllie launched the concept nationally and internationally, and, as of last week, more than 2,000 schools in Britain (and more than 820 in Belgium — go Belgium!) had signed up. Our school has yet to do so, so here I am in the field behind our house, begging my three boys to start running.

We agree to start small: one lap of the field in the morning, another in the evening. Day one, the five-year-old is off like a rabbit, but the 10- and 12-year-old trudge off sullenly — they’ve been burnt by family experiments before. The “cook a meal from a different country once a week” experiment lasted three weeks. The “make a squadron of Airfix Spitfires” plan nose-dived 1.03 Spitfires in. And so, 500 yards later, they report total ambivalence.

Days two and three: the morning laps go well (the youngest goes round twice). The evening laps are a struggle (“I’ve done rugby”/“I’ve got a sore knee”). But I swear all three go to sleep quicker than usual. Due to logistical issues, we miss day four. This is clearly why it works best if the school enshrines running in its curriculum. Running to miss home time: difficult. Running to miss school time: no problem. Day five: no protests. Weekend: not a chance.

We’re halfway through week two of our one-month trial. Two laps — about 1,000 yards plus a couple of press-ups — is now the norm. It won’t last. But I’ve seen enough to know this is a good thing, particularly for boys who hate sitting still in class for long hot summer hours. They are less fidgety, they sleep better and their appetites are less snack-based, more decent scoff at mealtimes.

“Daddy, you should do it too,” said the youngest yesterday morning as I lined them up.

“One problem at a time, young man,” I replied. “Now, off you go.”


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

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When kids run for 15 minutes in school every day, here’s what happens to their health

Source: The Conversation

Date: 11-May-2018

The Daily Mile Foundation welcomes research published by the Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh, which proves the health benefits associated with doing The Daily Mile and daily physical activity. The Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh worked with The Conversation to produce the below article, in order to ensure the research could be widely read and interpreted. 

The backdrop to The Daily Mile is a global childhood physical activity crisis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day – the kind that gets them out of breath. They should also do some resistance exercise each week to strengthen their muscles. Despite this, fewer than 40% of children achieve these recommended levels.

Governments have introduced various research-led interventions to combat these threats – increasing the intensity of physical education classes, for example – but with mixed success. There are basically two hurdles: any intervention needs to be something children will keep doing, and it has to improve their health.

The Daily Mile has the attraction of being both simple and designed not by researchers but by a teacher and some children. The fact that so many schools are participating suggests that children keep doing it. So how about the effect on their health?

We compared 391 children aged four to 12 years in two local schools, over the course of an academic year. One school was about to introduce The Daily Mile while the other was not.

At the start and end of the study, we measured each child in the following ways: fitness (by bleep test), physical activity levels and sedentary time (both by accelerometer belts), and body fat (by skin fold calipers). (We looked at skin folds and not weight because body mass index is not great at measuring “fatness” in this age group: the results get warped by the weight of bones developing as kids get taller.)

The children in the school that introduced the Daily Mile increased their moderate/vigorous physical activity by nine minutes per day (around 15%), and cut their sedentary time by 18 minutes per day (around 6%). They saw a 40-metre increase (circa 5%) in how far they could run, while their skin folds reduced by an average of 1.4mm or 4%.

Some query the impact of The Daily Mile on lesson time, but there’s little reason for this. We have previously shown in almost 12,000 children that a single bout of similar exercise made them more awake, increased their attention and verbal memory, and improved their feelings of well-being. We have also heard anecdotal claims about other benefits such as better sleep and diet.

In short, our results suggest The Daily Mile is definitely worthwhile. In future we need to expand our research to understand whether it can work in different educational settings, such as high schools, and whether it works equally well for pupils from different backgrounds.

For the moment, The Daily Mile can certainly be part of the solution to child health and well-being. Look out for it: it could be here to stay.

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

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The Daily Mile ‘significantly improves health’

Source: BBC Scotland

Date: 10-May-2018

An initiative to get schoolchildren to walk or run a mile every day leads to significant improvements in their health, according to a study. The Daily Mile scheme was originally the brainchild of a Scottish head teacher.

University researchers have compared the health of children at a primary school which takes part in the scheme with those at a school which does not. They found it led to improved fitness and body composition. It is the first quantitative research to back up anecdotal evidence about the benefits of The Daily Mile.

The researchers said the findings suggest The Daily Mile is a “worthwhile intervention to introduce in schools and that it should be considered for inclusion in government policy, both at home and abroad.”

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

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Toff takes on The Daily Mile

Source: ITV – This Morning

Date: 08-May-2018

It’s a simple idea from a teacher in Scotland that led to a Pride of Britain Award – The Daily Mile… Children jogging a mile every day to build up their fitness.

Now ITV are joining in to help encourage every school across the UK to sign up.

Today Toff takes children from one school that has never done it to a school that already has, to find out why it’s such a good idea…

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

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Holly’s Lodge School

St Polycarp’s School

Take part in The Daily Mile with Good Morning Britain

Source: ITV – Good Morning Britain

Date: 07-May-2018

This week Good Morning Britain (and everyone at ITV) is backing The Daily Mile.

The aim of The Daily Mile is to improve the physical, social, emotional and mental health and well being of children – regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances.

The idea is that each school day, pupils are taken out of their classroom to space outdoors and allowed to run for 15 minutes, whether in a playground or playing field. Children don’t need any special equipment or running kit, they just run in their uniform in the great outdoors. It’s called The Daily Mile as within 15 minutes children run around 1 mile.

The Daily Mile was founded in 2012 by Pride of Britain winner Elaine Wyllie. This week she was on our show and this is what she had to say…

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

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