Active Mile Daily Track is a simple, free and inclusive school-based physical activity programme that encourages pupils to run or jog for 15 minutes outside at their own pace each day during class time. It has been shown to have a positive impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing as well as improving their fitness levels.
Low physical activity, high sedentary behaviour and declining fitness levels are key global public health problems with interventions like the Daily Mile providing an important opportunity to reach large proportions of the population in contrast to opt-in activities such as sports clubs that tend to target already physically active individuals. However, little is known about the effectiveness of school-based physical activity programmes.
Tracking Active Miles: Pedometers vs. GPS Apps
This study sought to understand the impacts of implementing the Daily Mile at primary schools in terms of behavioural outcomes, MVPA and body composition measures. Additionally, the anecdotally reported improvements in children’s cognition and behaviour were investigated.
Participants from the experimental and control schools participated in semi-structured interviews. The interview guide covered topics including how the Daily Mile is viewed by staff, approaches to delivery and perceived benefits and barriers to participation.
Significantly higher levels of MVPA and lower sedentary behaviour were found at schools where the Daily Mile was introduced compared to those which did not introduce it. Similarly, a small but statistically significant increase in body composition was observed. This included a reduction in % fat mass and a smaller increase in waist circumference. An improvement in fitness was also demonstrated with an increase in shuttle distance (SMD = 0.236; Additional file 1: Table S3) which when converted to V.O2max is predictive of 1.5% reduction in all-cause mortality risk.