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 – 269 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
Active Transportation to School

Schools can encourage the use of trails, crosswalks, and programs like Safe Routes to Schools and walking school buses to help increase student participation in active transportation. Get more information here about the Community Guide’s recommended interventions to support travel to school as a strategy to increase walking among students and reduce traffic-related injury.