Children in Scotland have inspired the biggest health board in the UK to help make their staff healthier, happier and more physically active.
Today NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) became the first health board to sign up to “The Daily Mile” initiative credited with making primary school pupils fitter, more resilient and more focused during lessons.
Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell joined Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHSGGC’s Director of Public Health, and Elaine Wyllie, Founder of The Daily Mile, to launch “The Daily Mile” employee health campaign.
Ms Campbell said: “By taking small steps and walking just one mile a day, people can make huge changes to their lives. Something as simple as a 15 minute walk each day can add years to a person’s quality of life.
“I am delighted that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is encouraging its staff to get moving, and I hope that other health boards currently not signed up to The Daily Mile initiative will consider taking part.
“Walking and being more active generally can contribute positively to areas such as mental and physical health. It demonstrates that prevention really is better than cure.
“There is no time like the present to get more active – with the Commonwealth Games just around the corner and Glasgow hosting the inaugural European Championships this summer, there are countless opportunities to get moving and make small, but effective, changes to your lifestyle.”
The Daily Mile was conceived by Elaine Wyllie, whilst headteacher of St Ninians Primary School in Stirling. Elaine implemented The Daily Mile in response to a challenge that the children lacked basic fitness.
“Together with the class, we decided to do something about it. Every day for 15 minutes the children would be encouraged to go out into the fresh air and run or jog around the field. It didn’t matter how fast they went, or how far: it was all about enjoying a sense of freedom, outside in the fresh air with their friends and teachers.”
Since that first 15-minute run in 2012, about 600,000 children in more than 3,000 primary schools worldwide, including over 1,000 in Scotland, now run almost two million miles a week. The daily 15-minute burst of physical activity has also been shown to improve children’s physical, mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing.
“I couldn’t have predicted the transformative impact The Daily Mile would have – not only did the children love it, but they were taking active ownership of their own health and wellbeing. We saw improvements in the children’s focus and behaviour in class, improved self-confidence, and reports from parents that their children were eating and sleeping better.
“I am so thrilled to see NHSGGC implement The Daily Mile for their staff and visitors, and hope other Health Boards will be inspired by their success.”
As part of their Staff Health Strategy, NHSGGC has produced a website, maps and leaflets to show its employees how easily they can exercise more. The Daily Mile is part of a range of activities, which also includes yoga, football, metafit and active commuting, which encourages staff to be physically active.
“NHSGGC has been inspired by the success and simplicity of the initiative already adopted by schools,” said Dr de Caestecker.
“The Daily Mile campaign is the perfect opportunity to encourage over 38,000 employees to keep active, either by incorporating exercise into their working day, or by changing their commuting habits.”
Walking a mile each day has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and stroke.
It can also help to make you feel happier, reduce stress, build self-esteem and lead to a good night’s sleep.
The Daily Mile Foundation supports the Scottish Government’s pledge to make Scotland the world’s first Daily Mile Nation.
More information on what is available to support NHSGGC staff on getting active is available at http://www.nhsggc.org.uk/working-with-us/staff-health/
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Pic: Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport (front, middle) helps NHSGGC launch the Daily Mile Initiative