In these self-isolating times, it's easy to get stuck in a rut.

We are allowed to leave the house for one form of exercise a day though, so let's make the most of it.

As long as we maintain social distancing from people outside our own household, and there’s never been a better time for kids to start doing The Daily Mile.

It's a children’s exercise initiative that was started by headteacher Elaine Wyllie eight years ago after she became concerned about her pupils’ lack of physical fitness.

The idea is simply that children walk, run or jog – whatever pace suits them best – for 15 minutes every day, whether they’re at school or at home, to improve their health and wellbeing.

Elaine Wyllie

Though called ‘The Daily Mile’ because children tend to average running a mile in the 15 minutes, the distance isn’t compulsory, and the aim of the initiative is for participants to enjoy themselves, improve over time, and develop healthy habits for a lifetime.

And now parents are marooned at home too, there’s no reason for them not to start doing The Daily Mile along with their kids, and enjoy the same benefits – with the added bonus of doing something healthy alongside their children.

Here, Elaine Wyllie outlines the benefits of The Daily Mile, which has been adopted by over 10,900 schools and nurseries in 78 countries, leading to over 2.3 million children running.

The Daily Mile reduces obesity and improves children’s fitness

The World Health Organisation recommends children get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day – but fewer than 40% of children get this. The Daily Mile is all about improving the health and wellbeing of children, with benefits ranging from physical, to emotional, social and mental.

A study by the  University of Birmingham found that after 12 months, The Daily Mile could be a cost-effective solution to helping address childhood obesity, and had a positive impact on the BMI of girls.

The  Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh conducted a study to assess the physiological benefits of The Daily Mile for primary school children, and found it improved their fitness by 5%, improved body composition by contributing to a reduction in body fat by 4%, increased physical activity levels by 15%, and reduced sedentary behaviour by 5%.

It's easy

“The Daily Mile is built on the principle that it’s easy to implement, inclusive and fun to do,” says Wyllie.

“It’s simple, free and gets children out of the classroom – or the home – for 15 minutes a day. Teachers or parents can do it whenever best fits into their schedule and children don’t have to get changed.”

According to a  University of Turin study, teachers who participated in the initiative found it to be extremely easy to implement, and 96.4% of teachers agreed The Daily Mile had no negative impact on their teaching.

It improves children’s memory, attention and mood

Physical activity creates endorphins and puts people in a better mood, stresses Wyllie.

Research led by  Swansea University reported that as well as significantly improving children’s fitness, The Daily Mile had a positive impact on children’s happiness.

And further research by the  Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh found 15 minutes of self-paced physical activity, such as The Daily Mile, led to a reported 7% improvement in children’s alertness, mood and verbal memory.

It makes children more aware of their health

The Daily Mile promotes the idea of self-care, with children becoming more aware of their own health and the need to take responsibility for it.

“After running for 15 minutes every day, children start to notice their fitness levels getting better and they become aware of the health benefits,” says Wyllie.

“They start to feel better not only physically but mentally, and their concentration levels are better. It’s extremely important that children know the benefits that physical activity has, and doing The Daily Mile does this.”