Brain Breaks: Physical Activity in the Classroom for Elementary School Children


      To evaluate “Brain Breaks”, an exercise DVD, for promoting physical activity during classroom education in elementary school children.

      Target Audience

      Elementary school children.

      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale

      We previously reported that 92% of Oregon elementary schools do not meet the recommended amount of physical education for at least 150 minutes per week and daily recess. To increase students' physical activity level in schools, we developed an exercise DVD (“Brain Breaks”) that provides short physical activity breaks during classroom education.


      “Brain Breaks” consists of short segments of physical activity breaks demonstrated by Oregon State University students and athletes and local school children. The segments are subdivided into strength, endurance, and relaxation and stretching activities that can be done in classrooms. Classroom teachers play parts of the DVD at least once per week.


      An anonymous mail survey was sent with the exercise DVD to participating Oregon school districts and was returned by 43 elementary school classroom teachers.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Most elementary school classroom teachers (74%) played the DVD at least 2-3 times/week; the relaxation and stretching segment was played most often (60%). Nearly all teachers perceived that classes understood the instructions and responded to them at least adequately (98%) and that students were excited and engaged in participating (95% for the relaxation and stretching segment). 91% of teachers plan to continue using the DVD. In conclusion, “Brain Breaks” was effective in increasing physical activity in elementary school children during classroom education.


      Linus Pauling Institute, USANA