Classroom Physical Activity

Classroom physical activity is any physical activity done in the classroom.1-4 It can take place at any time and occur in one or several brief periods during the school day. 1-4 It includes integrating physical activity into academic instruction as well as providing breaks from instruction specifically designed for physical activity.1-4 Classroom physical activity should be offered in addition to physical education and recess and at all school levels (elementary, middle, and high school).

Classroom physical activity can benefit students by1,5:

  • Improving their concentration and ability to stay on-task in the classroom.
  • Reducing disruptive behavior, such as fidgeting, in the classroom.
  • Improving their motivation and engagement in the learning process.
  • Helping to improve their academic performance (higher grades and test scores).
  • Increasing their amount of daily physical activity.
Classroom Physical Activity Data and Policy

Integrate Classroom Physical Activity in Schools pdf icon[PDF – 389 KB] —This data brief defines classroom physical activity, provides a snapshot of current classroom physical activity practices in the United States, and highlights ways to improve classroom physical activity through national guidance and practical strategies and resources.

Classroom Physical Activity Strategies
Strategies for Classroom Physical Activity in Schools cover image
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Strategies for Classroom Physical Activity in Schools. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept. of Health and Human Services; 2018.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to promote healthy eating and physical activity. MMWR 2011;60(RR05):1–76.
  3. Institute of Medicine. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2013.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Guide for Developing Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health and Academic Achievement. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.