Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Kinesiology (MKin)


Kinesiology and Physical Education


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Tom Hazell

Advisor Role



Classroom physical activity breaks (CAB) are beneficial for increasing children’s physical activity (PA) levels as well as the amount of time spent being on-task within the classroom. This study examined the effect of CAB at different times within the school day on on-task behaviour and PA levels in primary school (grade 1-3) children. Thirty-five children participated in CAB in four different conditions (within-subject): morning (AM), afternoon (PM), both the morning and afternoon (BOTH), and no CAB (CTRL). PA levels were monitored via activPAL accelerometers for 24 h starting at the beginning of the school day. On-task behaviour was observed for 45-140 min following each CAB, with the amount of time students spent being on-task as well as 3 types of off-task (motor, verbal, and passive) being recorded. When compared to control, the AM condition and PM condition increased on-task behaviour (AM: Δ10.4%, p<0.001, PM: Δ10.5%, p<0.001), while performing BOTH CAB increased on-task behaviour even further (Δ14%, p<0.001). The AM condition was most beneficial for reducing off-task motor (Δ-6.5%) and off-task verbal (Δ-3%) behaviour, while the PM condition was most beneficial for reducing off-task passive (Δ-9%) behaviour. These effects were greatest in those students demonstrating higher amounts off-task behaviour during CTRL (r>0.67, p<0.001). Students participated in an additional 8.4 min (p=0.07), 12.2 min (p<0.001), and 6.3 min (p=0.09) of 24 h moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) following a CAB vs CTRL in the AM, PM, and BOTH conditions, respectively. Additionally, performing any of the CAB conditions increased the number of steps taken during the school day, by an average of 2007 steps (p<0.009). Overall, these results demonstrate that CAB improve both on-task behaviour and PA levels, regardless of time of day. However, performing two CAB (BOTH) is recommended to derive the greatest improvements in on-task behaviour and all types of off-task behaviour across the school day.

Convocation Year