Physical Exercise for Children (page 3)

By — Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education)
Updated on Dec 8, 2010

Other Way to Incorporate Activity Into Schools

In addition to physical education, schools can promote physical activity in a variety of other ways (much of this is based on CDC, 1997):

*Promote collaboration between physical education and classroom teachers. For example, physical education teachers might provide ideas for "fitness breaks" to classroom teachers, where 5-minute aerobic activities could be used to break up the school day.

*Provide extracurricular physical activity programs. Interested teachers and parents might be encouraged to establish developmentally appropriate clubs and/or intramural activities of a competitive and noncompetitive nature. Walking clubs, in-line skating, jumping rope, water aerobics, and intramural swim teams provide a few examples.

*Coordinate physical activities with community agencies. Schools might allow use of school facilities by community agencies that sponsor physical activity programs, facilitate training programs for volunteer youth coaches, invite community groups to an "activity fair" for students in the school gymnasium, or provide a listing of community physical activity resources to students.

*Encourage and enable parental involvement in physical activity. Parental activity level is very important in promoting activity among children. Schools can help encourage activity in parents by sending home activity homework that parents and children do together, recruiting parent volunteers for physical education classes, and sponsoring parent-child activity programs at school.

*Provide physical and social environments that encourage and enable physical activity. For example, schools might allow access to facilities before and after school hours and during vacation periods, encourage teachers to provide time for unstructured physical activity during recess and during physical education class, and help school personnel to serve as active role models by enabling and encouraging their own participation in physical activity.


Inactive adults have twice the mortality of adults who are at least somewhat active (Blair & Connelly, 1996). Schools that promote physical activity may have a significant impact on reducing childhood obesity, chronic disease, and, ultimately, adult mortality. Insofar as physical activity has been associated with increased academic performance, self-concept, mood, and mental health, the promotion of physical activity and exercise may also improve quality of life.


American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75231.

Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, University of Minnesota, 203 Cooke Hall, 1900 University Avenue, S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455. (612) 625-7327.

National Association for Sport and Physical Education(NASPE), 1900 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191; (703)476-3410. http: //


References identified with an EJ or ED number have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Journal articles (EJ) should be available at most research libraries; most documents (ED) are available in microfiche collections at more than 1,000 locations. Documents can also be ordered through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service: (800) 443-ERIC.

Allensworth, D., Lawson, E., Nicholson, L., & Wyche, J. (Eds.). (1997). SCHOOLS AND HEALTH: OUR NATION'S INVESTMENT. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Blair, S. N., & Connelly, J. C. (1996). How much physical activity should we do? The case for moderate amounts and intensities of physical activity. RESEARCH QUARTERLY FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT, 67(2), 193-205. EJ 533 437

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1996). Guidelines for school health programs to promote lifelong healthy eating. MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORTS, 45(No. RR-9), 1-41.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1997). Guidelines for school and community programs to promote lifelong physical activity among young people. MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORTS, 46(No. RR-6), 1-36.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000 PROGRESS REPORT FOR: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND FITNESS. (April 26, 1995). Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

National Institutes of Health. (1995). PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH: NIH CONSENSUS STATEMENT. Kensington, MD: NIH Consensus Program Information Center.

Pangrazi, R. P., Corbin, C. B., & Welk, G. J. (1996). Physical activity for children and youth. JOPERD, 67(4), 38-43. EJ 528 648

Pate, R. R., Pratt, M., et al. (1995). Physical activity and public health: A recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. JAMA, 273(5), 402-407.

Pate, R. R., Small, M. L., Ross, J. G., Young, J. C., Flint, K. H., & Warren, C. W. (1995). School physical education. JOURNAL OF SCHOOL HEALTH, 65(8), 339-343. EJ 520 865

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND HEALTH: A REPORT OF THE SURGEON GENERAL. (1996). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION ON WEIGHT AND OBESITY (September 24-25, 1992). SUMMARY REPORT. (1994). Bethesda, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. ED 382 621

Zwiren, L.D. (1993). The public health perspective: Implications for the elementary physical education curriculum. In M. L. Leppo (Ed.), HEALTHY FROM THE START: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON CHILDHOOD FITNESS (pp. 25-40). Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education. ED 352 357

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