Sir Andy Murray has announced a partnership with the NHS to promote the benefits of exercise.
The tennis star has given his support to the Daily Mile initiative, which encourages primary school children to run or jog a mile each day to improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Murray said he is “a huge supporter” of the NHS and healthier lifestyles can relieve some of the pressures on the health service.
He also said he hoped the initiative could instil good habits in youngsters.
The Daily Mile started at St Ninians Primary School in Stirling – close to Murray’s hometown of Dunblane – in 2012 and now has more than 4,000 schools taking part across the UK and world.
The partnership was announced as the 70th anniversary of the NHS is marked with Murray using his public profile to support health and fitness projects as he returns to top-level tennis following a lengthy hip injury.
He said: “I am a huge supporter of the NHS, but we all know it is under pressure.
“If we can increase levels of activity as a nation, it helps improve mood, self-esteem and energy, but it will also reduce the strain on the NHS by keeping us healthier. It’s especially important to instil these habits early and support and inspire young people to maintain them as they go through their teenage years.
“I am proud to be supporting the Daily Mile. It is a simple initiative which benefits children’s physical and mental health along with their well-being.”
Elaine Wyllie, founder of the Daily Mile, said: “It is wonderful that Andy Murray has chosen to be an ambassador for the Daily Mile Foundation.
“To have Andy on board highlights the positive impact the Daily Mile is having across the UK. He is a fantastic sporting role model for the children of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
“We are confident that this will inspire more schools across the UK to sign up to the Daily Mile and experience the transformational health and well-being benefits that the Daily Mile provides.”
Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, added: “Andy is without a doubt a fantastic sporting ambassador. He is hard- working, committed and passionate about staying active, fit and healthy.
“It is wonderful to have him working alongside the NHS to promote the benefits of physical activity and I hope this will encourage more people to become more active, more often – just 15 minutes of exercise a day can make a massive difference to people’s lives.”