We all know ‘exercise is good for you’, and The Daily Mile is no exception. There are a wide variety of health and wellbeing benefits associated with daily physical activity. To further understand the impact of The Daily Mile on children, see below published research surrounding the initiative.

Read on below

The Sports Institute at UW Medicine is spearheading a comprehensive study in the United States to research whether there are connections between physical activity during the school day and positive academic, behavioral and social-emotional outcomes for students participating in The Daily Mile Program. Reach out to learn more or get involved.


The Science behind The Daily Mile

The Daily Mile: What factors are associated with its implementation success?

(PLOS ONE, 19.10.18)

Research carried out by the Universities of StirlingEdinburgh and Highlands & Islands has concluded that the initiative’s success “can be attributed to the simple core intervention components – allowing the children to walk, jog or run; flexible delivery that supports teacher autonomy; and adaptability that suits the specific primary school context.” [Read more]

To view all research conducted by the University of Stirling on The Daily Mile, visit:

To download a “How To / Why To” Guide for schools, based on independent research from the Universities of Stirling, Edinburgh and Highlands & Islands, click the button below.

How To / Why To Guide



The Daily Mile makes primary school children more active, less sedentary and improves their fitness and body composition: a quasi-experimental pilot study

(BMC Medicine Journal, 10.05.18)

Research carried out by the Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh has concluded that The Daily Mile is an “effective intervention” and has measurable positive health outcomes in physical activity, sedentary behaviour, fitness and body composition of primary school children… [Read more]

Dr Naomi Brooks, University of Stirling: “This data is consistent with what we would expect to find in children who had been doing The Daily Mile for 4 years, though there are many factors which contribute to body composition and fitness. It also fits with our published results – a 4% reduction in skinfolds measured in children after doing The Daily Mile for 7 months.”

Summary of Findings



A cluster randomised controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of The Daily Mile on childhood obesity and wellbeing: the Birmingham Daily Mile protocol

(BMC Public Health, 11.01.18)

Research carried out by the University of Birmingham has advised that “the participation of a diverse population and the inclusion of: cost-effectiveness; process evaluation and a wide variety of different outcomes are all strengths of this study which should provide a comprehensive assessment of The Daily Mile” … [Read more]


Brief aerobic exercise immediately enhances visual attentional control and perceptual speed. Testing the mediating role of feelings of energy. 

(Acta Psychologica, September 2018)

Dr Fabien D Legrand, Département d’Education Physique et sportive (EPS) at Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, has advised that his team’s findings “add weight to recent suggestions that increased feelings of energy may mediate the relationship between aerobic exercise and some aspects of cognitive functioning” … [Read more]

Readers Digest article

Dr Fabien D Legrand, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne: “In our study it appeared that 15 minutes of jogging at slow/medium pace (10km/h) led to significant improvements in a task requiring processing speed and attentional control (the “Trail Making Test-Part A”). In my opinion, this finding can be worth of interest to your webpage readers, as it suggests that short exercise breaks could be used as an aid to get good marks at school… Indeed, situations inducing anxiety (such as anticipation of an exam test) usually inhibit attentional control (Eysenck et al., 2007). As mentioned above, one of our major findings is that exercise improved attentional control; thus, counteracting the inhibiting effect of anticipation anxiety. However, only undergraduate students participated. Therefore, different populations need to be considered in future research, especially school-age children and adolescents.” (October 2018)

[Reference used in above quotation: Eysenck, M., Kerakshan, N., Santos, R., & Galvo, M. (2007). Anxiety and cognitive performance: Attentional control theory. Emotion, 7(2), 336–353.]



Physical Inactivity and Mental Health in Late Adolescence

(JAMA Psychiatry Journal, June 2018)

Dr Mark Beauchamp, School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia, explores the effects of The Daily Mile, and other physical activity implementations of a similar nature, on physical inactivity and aspects of mental health, such as depression and anxiety, on adolescents… [Read more]


Motivating Miles: Reflections on why The Daily Mile might be tapping into children’s natural motivation

(University of Bristol, Policy Studies blog, 05.06.18)

Dr Simon Sebire, Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol, reflects on the success of the physical activity initiative, The Daily Mile. Using a psychological framework called Self-Determination Theory (SDT), he discusses SDT’s core principles of Autonomy, Belonging and Competence (A, B, C) … [Read more]

Summary of Simon’s paper


How does exercise affect my brain?

(BBC Learning’s Terrific Scientific, 2018)

Research carried out by the Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh has found that 15 minutes of self-paced exercise can significantly improve a child’s mood, attention and memory – enhancing their ability to learn… [Read more]



Young at heart: Why children who exercise become healthier adults

(The Guardian Health & Wellbeing, 28.08.17)

New research suggests childhood exercise has a protective effect on health in later years, as well as improving brain power – even in inactive grown-ups… [Read more]


The Coppermile Evaluation Report

(Fitmedia Fitness in association with London Playing Fields Foundation, 2016)

Learn how The Daily Mile can significantly improve the physical, mental, social and emotional health and well-being of preschool and elementary school-aged children in the Coppermile Evaluation… [Read more]



Change4Life evidence review: rapid evidence review on the effect of physical activity participation among children aged 5 to 11 years

(Public Health England, July 2015)

From this rapid review of the evidence on the outcomes of physical activity participation among children aged 5 – 11 years, the strongest evidence exists for a positive association between physical activity and cardio-metabolic health, muscular strength, bone health, cardio-respiratory fitness, self-esteem, anxiety/stress, academic achievement, cognitive functioning, attention/concentration, confidence, and peer friendship“… [Read more]


Our Research Partners


BASRaT, the British Association of Sport and Rehabilitators and Trainers, is working with The Daily Mile Foundation to help us evaluate the physical, mental, social and emotional impact of doing The Daily Mile.



100 Million Healthier Lives is an unprecedented collaboration of change agents across all sectors, who are pursuing an unprecedented result. Through creating a community of solutions, which The Daily Mile is proudly part of, they hope to achieve their mission of ‘100 million people living healthier lives by 2020’.


Contact Us

If you’re conducting research on The Daily Mile initiative, we’d like to know! Please contact us via. the button below.

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There is no silver bullet in turning the tide on obesity, but in my view The Daily Mile is a key part of a whole systems approach to tackling the epidemic. It ingrains a lifelong habit in our kids of taking regular physical activity; and regular physical activity in childhood is a completely separate risk factor for future heart disease in adults.

Danny Ruta, Director of Public Health for NHS Lewisham