Running a Mile a day can make children healthier
The Daily Mile can make a massive difference to children’s lives... and can improve the fitness of all children.
By Beth Daley, Editor, The Conversation
Children today spend more time sitting than ever before. And research shows that as they grow up, children tend to become more sedentary and less active.
This is where The Daily Mile, a teacher-led running program for primary school children, aims to make a difference. Designed by a headteacher in Scotland in 2012 in a bid to get children more active, the concept involves children running laps of the playground or school playing fields for 15 minutes everyday. Its simple design combined with political, public health and celebrity endorsement has seen it expand to more than 10,000 schools in 78 countries worldwide.
Recent research has shown that The Daily Mile may help children become fitter and reduce their body fat. But with 2.3 million-plus children taking part over the last eight years, we wanted to find out what school children thought of The Daily Mile.
In our new research that we conducted with our primary school health network, HAPPEN, we found that The Daily Mile can make a massive difference to children’s lives. It makes children realize they are good at running, that running is something they can do with friends and most importantly that they can have fun being active.
By talking to pupils, we also found that how schools promote The Daily Mile can greatly affect children’s experiences of it – and a lot of those we spoke to had great ideas on how to make it more fun and engaging.
What the kids say
On the whole, pupils enjoyed taking part in The Daily Mile but some also spoke of it becoming repetitive and boring. Pupils suggested playing music while running, setting up an obstacle course or running with a buddy around the Mile to make it more interactive and fun.
► "I like it because you can run with your friends and also listen to music, but it could be better by adding obstacles in maybe, hurdles or something."
This is important as research shows that finding a form of physical activity that you enjoy increases the likelihood of you starting and maintaining a physically active lifestyle.
In our research, children also told us they didn’t like it when The Daily Mile replaced their play time – as is the case in some schools. One of the children we spoke to told us:
► "If it wasn’t taking up our play time which is one of the fun moments of the day, then I would do it, because it is during play I don’t really want to do it."
Indeed, play is an essential component of child development and there has been a recent emphasis on the importance of protecting the ever decreasing opportunities of school play times.
Continue reading at: theconversation.com