Physical Activity Break Toolkit

Physical Activity Break Toolkit

Many leading public health organizations recognize the important role that schools play in helping children become physical active, and suggest that children engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity during the school day.¹ However, due to academic demands, many schools have cut significant time from physical education and recess.

An innovative way to increase a child’s minutes of physical activity during the school day is to incorporate physical activity breaks. These 5 to 20 minute sessions can vary widely in implementation style, but ultimately allow a student to increase their heart rate, have a mental break and refocus on the next task.

Physical activity breaks increase oxygen to the brain, burn calories and can improve positive thinking. The benefits of physical activity breaks go long beyond the effects on the body. They also are associated with improved attention, concentration, academic achievement, memory and reduced stress.

Resources for your Classroom

Types of Physical Activity Breaks

There are a few different ways of including physical activity into the classroom. Click here to find great tips and ideas to help you develop a plan that will work best with your students!

Overcoming Barriers in the Classroom

You may have concerns about incorporating physical activity breaks into your classroom. Maybe you worry about the time involved or if these breaks would be to distracting to your students. Click here to check out a few commonly perceived barriers and how to overcome them.

Additional Resources

Discover many of the great resources available for teachers and school personnel to engage students in physical activity each day.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Physical activity and health. Retrieved from …
  2. Flynn, M. A., McNeil, D. A., Maloff, B., Mutasingwa, D., Wu, M., Ford, C., & Tough, S. C. (2006). Reducing obesity and related chronic disease risk in children and youth: a synthesis of evidence with ‘best practice’ recommendations. The International Association for the Study of Obesity, 7, 7-66.
  3. Lengel, T., & Kuczala, M. (2010). The kinesthetic classroom: teaching and learning through movement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
  4. Kohl, H. W., Institute of Medicine, & Cook, H. D. (2013). Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. National Academies Press.