Schools across the West Country tackle a mile a day for mental wellbeing
Schools across the West Country have signed up for The Daily Mile challenge in an effort to improve students’ well-being.
The challenge is part of a national initiative, to engage students, at a time when many schools are still catching up after the pandemic.
New research has shown that a short amount of exercise each day significantly improves a child’s mood, concentration and memory.
The benefits were revealed in March, by the Universities of Stirling, Edinburgh and Highlands & Islands.
Dr Josie Booth, a developmental psychology lecturer at Edinburgh university said: “We looked at the long-term impact of taking part in the daily mile, those doing it for a longer time were fitter than those who had recently started and their visual special memory was better than those who weren’t taking part.
“It’s good for our health and good for our concentration.”
In the West Country, more than 200 schools take part, including Holy Cross Primary School in Bristol. Each morning the children walk, jog or wheel across the playground.
Headteacher Jo Kingston told ITV: “Following the lockdowns and the pandemic, we felt that it was really important. We noticed that when the children came back there was a lack of stamina and a lack of resilience and we see this as a good way to help.
“It then has benefits in the classroom because it increases their work ethic.”
Pupil Maja said “When we come into class after we do our daily mile it helps us to relax and encourages us to do more work.
Classmate Roman added, “You can set your own pace and you’re only in competition with yourself, I used to do a slow jog and now I can do a little bit faster.”
Primary schools in Plymouth are also benefitting from the challenge, Head Teacher Annie Blackie from Stoke Damerel Primary Academy said: “we’re definitely seeing more alertness, they’re energised and physically fitter and set themselves the challenge to get a little bit better each time.”
Around three million children are taking part across 87 countries, with more joining every day.
It is hoped that more than 10 million will take part over the next 10 years.