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Some Physical Activities for Students for Time Breaks

Physical activities are essential to increase blood flow to the brain, release stress, and much more. Without breaks for exercise, concentration fails, and students can’t absorb the information properly. If teachers can get students out of their seats and keep them active throughout the day, they are more likely to remain motivated. Physical activity links to academic achievement and has many other positive benefits. 

Tips for physical activity breaks

Students in high school often don’t get the physical activity they need which is a recommended 60 minutes a day. Here are some tips for high school teachers to integrate physical activities into the day. 

  • Integrate physical activity with academic concepts where possible.
  • Ask students to share and lead their own physical activity break ideas.
  • Create a classroom physical activity calendar that includes varied activities throughout the month. 
  • Include some fun equipment such as beanbags, balance mats, skipping ropes etc. 
  • Create a playlist of music to accompany the physical movement. Ask the students to pick songs and include ones with suitable lyrics. 
  • Keep physical activity breaks short and manageable.
  • Modify activities so all students can participate. 
  • Utilize students and teachers as advocates and for providing resources. 

Find time for physical activity as a college student

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Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises can help to relieve stress. Make it routine to do breathing exercises before a test or a presentation. For six total breaths, students must breathe in slowly to the count of four. They must hold a breath for four seconds, and they breathe out slowly to the count of four. Get students to place their legs shoulder distance apart and bring their fingertips together before breathing deeply for three breaths. 

Stretching exercises

Leading students in stretches can also help to relieve tension. They must hold each stretch for about 20 seconds. 

  • Touch their toes
  • Reach for the sky with both arms. 
  • Do arm circles. 
  • Lift the knee to the chest. 
  • Do a quad stretch.

Chair action

Have students sit on their chairs and keep their backs straight. Play music with a strong beat and have them do the following:

  • They must act as though they are hiking by swinging their arms and lifting their knees. 
  • Students must move their arms as if doing different swimming movements and make leg movements. 
  • Students must keep their hands on the seat of the chair and peddle their legs as though they are riding a bike. 
  • Students must act as though they are holding a paddle to paddle a canoe and swing it to both sides.

Standing exercises

Do 10 reps for each movement.

  • March in place.
  • Face the chair and tap your toes on the chair.
  • With feet together, hop side-to-side.
  • Stand up straight, tap the bottom of the chair and stand up again. 

Exercises with a brain component 

Have students split into two or three groups, depending on the size of the class. They must stand in a circle and toss a ball back and forth to other students in the circle. Ask content questions, and the person who receives the ball next must answer the question.

Ask students a series of true or false questions. If they answer ‘false,’ they must touch their toes, and if they answer ‘true,’ they must jump in place for 10 jumps. 

Break students into groups and assign them a topic that relates to a current lesson. They must take a brisk five-minute walk to discuss the topic and report their discussion back to the class.  

Textbook exercises

Textbooks can become a tool for physical activity in the classroom. 

  • Biceps curls. Hold the textbook in one hand and bend the elbow to raise the book towards the shoulder. Switch to the opposite hand and do the same. 
  • Overhead lifts. Hold the textbook with both hands and lift it above their heads. 
  • Twists. Hold the textbook in both hands and twist slowly from one side to another. 


Physical activity breaks are associated with improved cognitive performance and test scores. The goal is to get the body moving and the heart pumping. Breathing and stretching exercises also have a part to play because they can help to relieve accumulated stress and tension. The above ideas should give teachers some inspiration for what to do during breaks.