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Schools take steps to make health miles better

18 April 2017


Schools in the borough of Rochdale are taking big strides towards improving their pupil's health by doing a mile per day of walking, jogging or running. 

17 of the 69 primary schools across the borough have signed up to the Daily Mile programme which aims to improve children's health by introducing regular exercise into their daily routine.

Children are being encouraged to take part in 15 minutes of exercise during the day which studies have shown can improve a child's fitness, concentration levels, mood, behaviour and general wellbeing.

'It gets the children outside and more active'

The programme – being promoted by the council as part of its drive to reduce childhood obesity rates - is simple and free to implement in schools and any child, regardless of age or ability can take part come rain or shine.

St Mary's RC Primary School, Middleton, has adopted the Daily Mile as part of its day. Children from all year groups are invited to walk nine laps of the school's sports pitch during their morning break.

Tom Feighan, sports leader at St Mary's, said: "We introduced the Daily Mile in September to get the children outside and more active. The children really enjoy it because they can do exercise and socialise with their friends; some of our staff and teachers like to join in as well.

"We've given rewards to the children for taking part which encourages the children to try hard and increase the laps they do. It's really helped our school and given the children another structured activity to do at break time."

'It's just physical activity that you can enjoy with your friends'

On average the school sees anything from 20 to 100 pupils taking part during each session.

Jennifer Hales is a year 6 pupil and sports leader at St Mary's. She said, "It really helps with exercise and people have fun when they're running. I think it's good because if you didn't do it you'd just be bored and doing nothing."

Harry Doyle, another year 6 sports leader, said: "I like it because it's not like P.E or anything, it's just physical activity that you can enjoy with your friends and it will help you be healthy."

'Our schools are getting involved in sport and encouraging healthy living'

Councillor Donna Martin, Rochdale Borough Council's cabinet member for children's services, said: "Keeping our borough's children healthy is really important so I'm pleased that our schools are getting involved in sport and encouraging healthy living. The children at St Mary's are really enthused and enjoy taking part so I would like to thank the school for being a shining example and also encourage other schools to sign up to the Daily Mile."

Schools wanting to sign up to the Daily Mile can visit Daily Mile or contact the healthy schools lead on 01706 925136 for more information.

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