Purpose The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of implementing ten 3-min moderate to vigorous physical activity breaks in the classroom.
Methods Twenty third- through sixth-grade classrooms (approximately 500 students) in three schools across southeast Michigan: one suburban (90% white; 25% qualified for free/reduced lunch [FRL]), one rural (90% white; 50% FRL) and one urban (59% black; 74% FRL), participated in this 16-wk intervention. Before the start of the intervention, participating teachers were trained during a 2-d school-based in-service. Direct observation was used to assess 1) intervention fidelity, 2) exercise intensity of activity breaks (AB), 3) duration of AB, 4) transition time to start an AB, and 5) students returning to task post-AB. Postintervention, teachers completed surveys to document the number of AB per day to comment on the feasibility of the intervention. Students completed the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale questionnaire and answered a single-item question from the Physical Activity Self-Efficacy Scale to assess AB enjoyment and confidence, respectively.
Results On average, teachers implemented five AB per day (average duration: 202 s) with approximately 85% of students and 75% of teachers exercising at a moderate to vigorous intensity during a given AB; approximately 99% of students returned to a teacher-assigned task within 30 s of completing the break. Students reported high levels of AB enjoyment and confidence.
Conclusions These preliminary findings suggest that ten 3-min AB are not feasible for a classroom setting because teachers on average implemented only five AB. Nevertheless, children accumulated over 16 min of activity in the classroom, most of which were moderate to vigorous physical activity minutes enabling teachers to provide approximately half of the school-based recommendations for physical activity in their classrooms.