In-Class Physical Activity Breaks

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Get all students active by adding short physical activity breaks during class every day. Pair this Play with the NFL Play 60 Challenge to get students excited!


Three- to five- minute breaks at the beginning or in the middle of class can get everyone energized and moving and it's proven to help students stay focused on learning in the process!

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: Helping All Students Achieve 60 Minutes of Physical Activity Each Day. A Position Statement. 2013. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Retrieved from

Do Short Physical Activity Breaks in Classrooms Work? A Research Brief. Princeton, NJ: Active Living Research, a National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; February 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.activelivin


  • Huddle up with your Principal to give your plan a thumbs up and support the idea with Teachers; Teachers to loop them in on how it works and get them to try it; and Students to get moving!
  • Make your case: Your first job is to get your Principal and some Teachers to say yes! Present them with information about how a short burst of physical activity can help students get focused and ready to learn-without disrupting the day.

    Use the Tools and Resources below to create a short presentation to share the research that makes this Play a winner.

    Highlight that these short activities - even if done in five-minute increments at the beginning or end of each hour in the school day - can help Students get up to half their recommended 60 minutes of activity over the course of the day (outside of P.E. class).
  • Get organized: Get a team of Students and P.E. Teachers, your School Wellness Committee and others to brainstorm short, easy activities that can be done in class without much equipment. Come up with ideas to get people moving in a fun and creative way without taking up a lot of time.
  • KICKOFF! Draft a few Teachers to try out your plan by joining the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge - a program that inspires kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day in school and at home-and tell other Teachers how it went.
  • Get the word out: Promote the plan with Students and Teachers by putting up signs about how it works and how much fun it is. Make morning announcements that highlight some classes that are making it happen. Get the word out on your school's website, blog or in your school's eNewsletter. Get some quotes from Students and Teachers who are cheering it on. Consider starting each class period with a one-minute, campus-wide activity. Time it right before the period starts to give Students an incentive to get to class on time.
  • Promote it at home: Make sure Parents know about this Play and encourage Students to continue the idea at home. Take a quick break during homework or chores, or add a family component before or after meal time!
  • Get Feedback: Ask Students to make comments and choose their favorite activities. Take a poll or ask Students to leave comments for the team in a "comment box" in the P.E. office. Ask Teachers about what works best for their classes. Ask Students: by getting active in class, are you changing your activity habits outside of school, too?
This Play may help you meet the goals of the USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge!

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In-Class Physical Activity Breaks

This Play has all you need to motivate the entire school!

We have engaged in physical activity breaks throughout the school year for a minimum of 15 minute breaks in each class. Teachers and students embraced the opportunity to move, refuel their energy and be able to refocus on academic tasks following these breaks.

The great thing about this play is that it can be done every day by every student. Giving teachers the flexibility to include the activity break at a time during the school day that works best for them and their students increaes it's success. It also helps stress the importance of physical activity to help keep us healthy and focused!

Here at Mt. Healthy, we have an exercise time after morning announcements each morning. Our FUTP60 team picks the music and we figure out a workout routine for that song. Then our PE teacher teaches the workout to all her classes. We change the workout each month. Our PE teacher also sends out written instructions on the routine to be put on the teaher's smartboards during the workout. We love to start each day with some fun exercise!

The In Class Physical Activity Play worked well at Barrett Elementary school. The kids seem to enjoy taking a break during class time to exercise. We use exercise bands, exercise balls, a elliptical machince, and a recumbent bike during this particular physical adctivity play.

This is a great idiea! We are goint to do brain breaks after morning announcements and throughout the day.

I think this is a great idea :)

The H. Team (12 students from 4th, 5th and 6th grades) promoted this by making morning announcements on Fitness Fridays. The teachers were given options for in class movement, such as JAM (just a minute), deskercise, or any movement breaks in the classrooms. All teachers completed a survey and 13 of 15 increased their movement minutes in the classroom from the fall to the current time.