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.
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.
- Strategies for Classroom Physical Activity in Schools [PDF – 9 MB]—This document describes 10 evidence-based strategies for promoting and planning for classroom physical activity.
- Integrate Physical Activity in Schools: A Guide for Putting Strategies into Practice [PDF – 4 MB]— This guide provides key questions and activities, along with practical templates that teachers and other champions can use to help them adopt, promote, enhance, or sustain the strategies identified in Strategies for Classroom Physical Activity in Schools.
- Online Platform: Integrate Classroom Physical Activity in Schools —This online platform provides a comprehensive look at the strategies identified in Strategies for Classroom Physical Activity in Schools. It includes key questions and activities, templates and tools, stories from the field that show how the strategies are being used in different states, and resources aligned with each of the recommended strategies.
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.
- CDC Classroom Physical Activity Promotion Kit
- Ideas for Parents: Classroom Physical Activity [PDF – 1 MB]
- Integrate Classroom Physical Activity: Getting Students Active During School [PPTX – 12 MB]
- CDC Classroom Physical Activity Social Media and Newsletters
- CDC Classroom Physical Activity Infographics and Web Badges
- Active Academics (2013)
- North Carolina’s Energizers (Classroom-Based Physical Activities) (2015)
- Springboard to Active Schools – Classroom Physical Activity Ideas and Tips [PDF – 4 MB]
- Springboard to Active Schools – Considerations for classroom physical
activity during COVID-19 [PDF – 3 MB]
- Springboard to Active Schools Promotional Toolkit for COVID‐19 Classroom Physical Activity Resources [PDF – 1 MB]
- Youth Compendium of Physical Activities for Classroom Teachers (2019) [PDF – 89 KB]
- 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.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to promote healthy eating and physical activity. MMWR 2011;60(RR05):1–76.
- Institute of Medicine. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2013.
- 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.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health and Academic Achievement. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.