A new study shows that activities such as the Daily Mile improve memory among pupils as well as their fitness.

The research by the University of Edinburgh shows that schoolchildren who run or walk for 15 minutes a day during the school day are mentally and physically sharper than those who do not. Taking time out of lessons for a run or a walk did not have any negative effect on the pupils’ brainpower, and greater fitness was found to relate to better memory.

This is the first study which has looked at any long-term effects of psychological health of school-based running programmes. To complete The Daily Mile pupils take a 15-mijute break from their classes to take part in a physical activity.

Researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Highlands and Islands observed 6000 pupils aged nine to 11 who undertook a series of cognitive function tests.

Dr Josie Booth, of the University of Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education and Sport, said: “Taking part in the Daily Mile each day can improve pupil fitness and while we did not find longer term benefits for cognition and wellbeing, there was no substantial negative impact either. The health benefits of physical activity coupled with the immediate benefit, which supports learning, makes such physical activity breaks worthwhile and should be considered by class teachers and school management, as well as education policy makers.”

Dr Colin Moran, from the University of Stirling said: “It’s great to see the longer term benefits of the Daily Mile for kids health coming through in our work.”