A mile in 15 minutes – could you do it? Well pupils at Isles’ schools are setting the pace by committing to walking or running a mile each day.
The results of this exercise boost speak for themselves as the English Primary 6/7 class at Sgoil a Bhac in Lewis described how the initiative was a ‘good idea’.
All 105 pupils at the school take part and are already improving their fitness levels just weeks into the new routine.
Acting Headteacher Donna Macdonald described how the idea came about: “Our head teacher (Donald Macleod) had heard about the initiative and as a staff we decided to introduce it to the school, some other schools are also doing it.
“We started this term and worked out a route around the school that is the equivalent to a mile.
“All the classes are doing it. We have been doing if for two weeks steady now and it’s become part of their routine, although we don’t put any pressure on timing for the children, they are loving it and want to improve their times so that they can see how they are getting on.”
No matter what the weather is doing, the whole school is covering their mile each day.
P6/7 pupil Cara Graham said: “You wake up sometimes and your muscles are aching and you don’t really want to do it, but you feel so much better afterwards.”
Classmate Hannah Mackenzie is the fastest in this class and can do the mile in 7.21 minutes, improving from nine minutes in just two weeks.
Fellow pupil James Morrison said: “I enjoy doing the mile to get more stamina and I’m hoping it will improve me for sports day as well.”
Cara continued: “It’s good in the morning to get your energy up, as you can still be a little bit tired inside, so it wakes you up as well.”
There is no doubt the exercise is improving fitness but there may also be an added benefit when it comes to classroom work.
Primary 6/7 class teacher Christina Macleod, reveals: “Their focus is a bit better when they come straight in and we start work, although it might take a bit longer to see the benefits of this.”
However, Miss Macleod is delighted to see how the pupils are motivating each other: “It is great to see them coming along, you can see they are motivating each other to do it. If someone is walking and someone else passes them running then they start to run as well.
“It’s not necessarily about the times that they do but about the fitness, and they have all opted to keep a note of their times.”
The Daily Mile was started by St Ninians Primary School in Stirling when a visitor to school remarked that the children were unfit.
Now schools around the Western Isles have enthusiastically taken up the idea, as a spokesman for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, explained: “Many primary schools in the Western Isles have taken on the Daily Mile initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of pupils.
“Children are encouraged to run the mile where appropriate but many will do a combination of running and walking.
“Although some schools are not running the Daily Mile they are aware of the need to increase levels of physical activity and all schools in the Western Isles are delivering two hours of PE per week. The ‘Daily Mile’ takes place alongside regular PE lessons.
“The mile is a non-competitive activity with no start and finish, so pupils can run at their own pace and everyone regardless of age, ability or circumstance can get involved.
“Many schools have already seen positive benefits and feedback from parents is very positive.”