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Classroom Physical Activity

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Classroom Physical Activity Defined

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 benefits 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 – 389 KB] —This is a data brief that 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. This was developed by Springboard to Active Schools in collaboration with CDC.

Classroom Physical Activity Strategies

Classroom Physical Activity Strategies cover image

Additional Resources

References (expand to view)

  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. 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.

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