Bid to make Scotland a '˜Daily Mile nation' after pupil scheme

It's now a common sight in school playgrounds across the country as pupils are put through their paces each day.

Daily Mile founder Elaine Wyllie, left, and sports minister Aileen Campbell, centre, with ScottishPower staff enjoying their Daily Mile. Picture: John Devlin

The successful Daily Mile scheme, which encourages children to walk, jog or run the distance every day of the week, has been hailed for aiding concentration and behaviour in class as well as fitness.

Now, after the success of the project which first began at St Ninian’s Primary in Stirling and has since spread to 1,000 schools across the country, the Scottish Government has pledged to make Scotland the first “Daily Mile nation”.

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Employers are being urged to sign up to an initiative encouraging their workforce to spend 15 minutes of their break walking a mile a day to improve their health.

The government will be writing to public and private sector companies around the country suggesting they introduce the policy, having already contacted all schools, nurseries, colleges and universities.

Elaine Wyllie, the headteacher who first created the initiative in 2012, said she was delighted with the idea.

It began with a plan for every pupil, from nursery to primary seven, to run or walks a mile each day around the school’s track, which is affectionately known as the “yellow brick road”.

The exercise is set at random times during the day; as soon as the cry of “Daily Mile” goes out, the children drop pencils and head out to do their laps of the school field.

“We all know of the myriad benefits of being physically active for our health and wellbeing – for children and adults both,” she said. “In doing the Daily Mile the children learn the importance of taking responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, and it’s wonderful to see their parents and relatives rising to the challenge and putting their best foot forwards.

“I’m delighted that Scotland’s workplaces will be following in the footsteps of our primary school children to push Scotland towards becoming the world’s first Daily Mile Nation.”

Sports minister Aileen Campbell visited Scottish Power’s headquarters in Glasgow to launch their Walk The Daily Mile project yesterday.

She said the Daily Maile could “easily” become part of staff breaks.

“Scottish Power have recognised the benefits of encouraging their workforce to be healthier and now we want other workplaces to follow suit.

“We know that being physically active makes employees more productive and less likely to take time off due to sickness or disability.”

Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer at Scottish Power, said many employees were already embracing the new routine.

“I’m proud the Scottish Government asked Scottish Power to be the first company in Scotland to adopt the Daily Mile.

“Our occupational health team has been inspired by the success and simplicity of the initiative already adopted by schools, and the move to our new headquarters in Glasgow offers the perfect opportunity to encourage over 1,600 employees to think about changing their commuting habits.

“Already, many more are either walking to work and enjoying a healthier start to the day or clocking up a ‘Daily Mile’ in their lunch hour.

“Given its early success, I’m delighted to confirm we’re also launching it across all main Scottish Power sites in the UK.”