Importance of Recess, Play, and Active Classrooms
Research has shown that physical activity opportunities throughout the school day can improve: school attendance, motivation, classroom behaviors, social and emotional learning, and cognitive performance.
IMPORTANCE OF RECESS
GUIDELINES FOR RECESS
- Children should accumulate at least 60 minutes of age-appropriate physical activity on all, or most days of the week. This daily accumulation should include moderate and vigorous physical activity with the majority of the time being spent in activity that is intermittent in nature.
- Children should participate in several bouts of physical activity lasting 15 minutes or more each day.
- Schools should provide all students in grades K-12 with at least one daily period of recess of at least 20 minutes in length.
- Children should participate each day in a variety of age-appropriate physical activities designed to achieve optimal health, wellness, fitness, and performance benefits.
- Extended periods of inactivity (two hours or more) are discouraged for children, especially during the daytime hours.
- Scheduling recess breaks directly before or after academic lessons positively affect student on-task behaviors.
- Recess should not be taken away for punitive reasons (10 Ways to Discipline Students Without Taking Away Recess).
- Do not use physical activity as punishment.
RESOURCES FOR RECESS
Importance of Play
Importance of active classrooms
Importance and Guidelines
- A Citizen Science Study of Short Physical Activity Breaks at School: Improvements in Cognition and Wellbeing with Self-Paced Activity
- Acute Effects of Classroom Exercise Breaks on Executive Function and Math Performance
- Classroom-Based Physical Activity and On-Task Behavior
- Classroom Seating for Children with ADHD: Therapy Balls Vs Chairs
- Classrooms in Motion - Research List
- Moving Minds - Research List
- Physically Active Lessons in Schools and their Impact on Physical Activity, Educational, Health and Cognition Outcomes
- Sweat So You Don’t Forget: Exercise Breaks During a University Lecture Increase On-Task Attention and Learning
RESOURCES FOR CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES (BRAIN BOOSTS)
RESOURCES FOR ACTIVE COMMUNITIES
ACTIVE EQUIPMENT CHECK-OUT THROUGH LIBRARIES
Libraries can be a great resource for physical activity in the community. Check out the resources below and Let's Move in Libraries to help start a program in your area!
Resources from Lethbridge Public Library
(thanks Barbara Longair and Lisa Weekes)
Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP)
"Schools play a vital role in ensuring children and adolescents get the nationally recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day...A CSPAP is a multi-component approach by which school districts and schools use all opportunities for students to be physically active, meet the nationally-recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime. A CSPAP reflects strong coordination and synergy across all of the components: physical education as the foundation; physical activity before, during, and after school; staff involvement; and family and community engagement."
The Importance of Physical Education
DOCUMENTARIES PROMOTING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Physical Activity & Academics - Multimedia
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & ACADEMICs - SPARK
SPARK: "A groundbreaking exploration of the connection between exercise and the brain’s performance that shows how even moderate exercise will supercharge mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen thinking, enhance memory, and much more."
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & ACADEMICs - RESEARCH
Additional Research Lists
- A Longitudinal Examination of the Link Between Youth Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement
- A Review of Acute Physical Activity Effects on Brain and Cognition in Children
- Active Education: Growing Evidence on Physical Activity and Academic Performance
- Aerobic Fitness and Academic Achievement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Associations of Physical Fitness and Academic Performance Among Schoolchildren
- Be Smart, Exercise Your Heart: Exercise Effects on Brain and Cognition
- Before-School Running/Walking club: Effects on Student On-Task Behavior
- Beneficial Effects of Acute Exercise on Executive Function in Adolescents
- Boost your Brain, While Having a Break! The Effects of Long-Term Cognitively Engaging Physical Activity Breaks on Children’s Executive Functions...
- Brief Aerobic Exercise Immediately Enhances Visual Attentional Control and Perceptual Speed
- Cardiovascular Risk Factor Trajectories Since Childhood and Cognitive Performance in Midlife
- Effect of Classroom-Based Physical Activity Interventions on Academic and Physical Activity Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Health and Academic Achievement
- Healthy and Ready to Learn
- Health-Related Behaviors and Academic Achievement Among High School Students — United States, 2015 (CDC)
- High-Intensity Training Enhances Executive Function in Children in a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
- Independent and Combined Influence of the Components of Physical Fitness on Academic Performance in Youth
- Insights on the Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Performance
- Is There a Relationship Between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement? Positive Results from Public School Children in the Northeastern United States
- Justifying Physical Education Based on Neuroscience Evidence
- Multimodal Imaging Brain Markers in Early Adolescence Are Linked with a Physically Active Lifestyle
- Muscular and Aerobic Fitness, Working Memory, and Academic Achievement in Children
- Physically Active Lessons in School and their Impact on Physical Activity, Educational, Health and Cognitive Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Physical Activity and Performance at School: A Systematic Review of the Literature Including a Methodological Quality Assessment
- Physical Activity, Fitness, Cognitive Function, and Academic Achievement in Children: A Systematic Review
- Physical Activity, Health-Related Fitness, and Classroom Behavior in Children: A Discriminant Function Analysis
- Physical Activity Promotes Academic Achievement and a Healthy Lifestyle when Incorporated into Early Childhood Education
- Physical Education, School Physical Activity, School Sports and Academic Performance
- Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement in Third- and Fifth-Grade Students
- Relationship Between Academic Achievement And Healthy School Transformations In Urban Elementary Schools In The United States
- Relationships of Physical Activity to Brain Health and the Academic Performance of Schoolchildren
- The Association Between Aerobic fitness and Language Processing in Children: Implications for Academic Achievement
- The Effect of Physical Activity on Sleep Quality, Well-Being, and Affect in Academic Stress Periods.
- The Effect of Physical Activity Interventions on Children's Cognition and Metacognition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- The Influence of Daily Structured Physical Activity on Academic Progress of Elementary Students with Intellectual Disabilities
- White Matter Microstructure Mediates the Association Between Physical Fitness and Cognition in Healthy, Young Adults
- Whole Brain Volumetric Approach in Overweight/Obese Children: Examining the Association with Different Physical Fitness Components and Academic Performance
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - RESEARCH
Fitness, Health, and Absenteeism
- Association between Increased BMI and Severe School Absenteeism Among US Children and Adolescents
- Individual-Level Fitness and Absenteeism in New York City Middle School Youths, 2006–2013
- The Association of Obesity and School Absenteeism Attributed to Illness or Injury Among Adolescents in the United States
Physical Activity and Mental Health
- A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship Between Children's Physical Activity and Mental Health
- Association Between Physical Exercise and Mental Health in 1.2 Million Individuals in the USA Between 2011 and 2015: A Cross-Sectional Study
- Depressive Symptoms and Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour throughout Adolescence: A Prospective Cohort Study
- Exercise as a Potential Treatment for Drug Abuse: Evidence from Preclinical Studies
- Exercise Therapy Improves both Mental and Physical Health in Patients with Major Depression
- Physical Activity, Physical Fitness, and Health-Related Quality of Life in School-Aged Children
- Physical Activity and Incident Depression: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies
- Physical Activity and Mental Health: Evidence is Growing
- Physical Activity and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents: An Updated Review of Reviews and an Analysis of Causality
- Physical Activity Improves Mental Health Through Resilience in Hong Kong Chinese Adolescents
- Physical Activity in European Adolescents and Associations with Anxiety, Depression and Well-Being
- Physical Activity Interventions and Depression in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Physical Activity May Protect Against New Episodes of Depression
- The Relation of Physical Activity and Exercise to Mental Health
- The Role of Exercise in Preventing and Treating Depression
- Volume and Social Context of Physical Activity in Association with Mental Health, Anxiety and Depression Among Youth
Physical Activity, Fitness, and Miscellaneous Benefits
- Associations Between Health-Related Physical Fitness, Academic Achievement and Selected Academic Behaviors of Elementary and Middle School Students in the State of Mississppi
- Association Between Objectively-Measured Physical Activity and Sleep
- Brain Connectivity Fluctuates Based on Exercise Intensity (Cognitive Control, Attention, and Emotional Processing)
- Physical Fitness Level Is Related to Attention and Concentration in Adolescents
- Systematic Review of the Health Benefits of Physical Activity and Fitness in School-Aged Children and Youth