Classroom Physical Activity Overview

Classroom physical activity is an important part of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program. Classroom physical activity gives students opportunities for physical activity during the school day in addition to physical education and recess. Encouraging students to be physically active during classroom learning can increase the amount of time they are active and limit the amount of time they are sedentary.

Key resources


Classroom physical activity is defined as any physical activity done in the classroom. Classroom physical activity can take place at any time and occur in one or several brief periods of time during the school day. Classroom physical activity should be offered in addition to physical education and recess and at all school levels (elementary, middle, and high school).

The two primary approaches for classroom physical activity are:

  • Physical activity integrated into planned academic instruction.
  • Physical activity outside of planned academic instruction.


Strategies for promoting and planning for classroom physical activity are organized into three broad categories:

  • Category 1: Build Buy-in and Capacity for Classroom Physical Activity
  • Category 2: Create Classroom Environments Supportive of Physical Activity
  • Category 3: Share Learnings and Celebrate Successes from Classroom Physical Activity

Click through each strategy (left hand navigation pane) to read its description, questions to consider, success stories, and practical resources.

Citations can be found in Strategies for Classroom Physical Activity in Schools.