Tennis legend Andy Murray has announced a partnership with the NHS which will see him working across the UK to promote the benefits of physical activity. The first examples of this collaboration is his support of children’s physical activity programmes the Daily Mile and Public Health England’s upcoming Change4Life campaign.
As part of NHS70 celebrations Andy Murray is using his public profile to support projects which have the aim of encouraging more people to start a regular habit that leads to a more active lifestyle. A key part of the NHS70 is encouraging people to take care of their own health and increasing levels of physical activity will go a long way towards this.
Andy Murray 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."
Andy Murray will champion The Daily Mile in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Daily Mile was started in a Scottish primary school in 2012 and has become one of the leading initiatives for improving children’s health and wellbeing in the UK. The aim of The Daily Mile is to improve the physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of our children – regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances. Murray will support The Daily Mile Foundation across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in inspiring more schools to participate in this transformational initiative.
Welcoming the initiative the Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride, said: “Having a tennis champion such as Andy Murray to encourage the public to take more physical activity is inspiring. The good news is, you don’t have to train as hard as Andy, to reap the health benefits of being a bit more active. I hope his enthusiasm will be infectious and encourage both young and old to consider their lifestyles and try and add more activity by making simple lifestyle changes to include more exercise, which will not only maintain a healthy weight but also improve our mental health.”
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.”
Notes to editors:
1. Growing levels of obesity in adults and children is a major health issue for the NHS, as it can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some types of cancer and stroke. Obesity can also affect quality of life and lead to psychological problems.
2. The cost to the NHS of treating diabetes alone is around £10 billion every year - nearly 10% of the NHS budget. It is estimated that obesity is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year and that obesity could overtake tobacco smoking as the biggest cause of preventable death.
3. About The Daily Mile - The Daily Mile was first developed by Elaine Wyllie when she was Head teacher of St Ninians Primary School in Stirling in February 2012. It is profoundly simple – but can be transformational to children’s health and wellbeing. It involves classes heading outside to jog or run around the school grounds every day, rain or shine, at whatever pace suits the child best. It gets children active with their friends and teachers, and refreshed for further learning. The Daily Mile is free, fun and fits in the school day easily. It only takes 15 minutes desk-to-desk, causing minimal disruption to the school day, but has lasting effects: not only do children become fit within 4 weeks, they are also reported to concentrate better in class, eat and sleep better at home, and develop stronger bonds with their classmates and teachers, too. Though named “The Daily Mile” (children tend to average running a mile in this time), the distance isn’t compulsory, and the ethos of the scheme is of inclusivity, enjoyment, and self-improvement over time. The Daily Mile is intended to help all children, no matter their age or personal circumstances, enjoy getting active every day- getting fitter and healthier now, but also developing healthy habits for a lifetime.
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