Journal of Physical Activity Research
ISSN (Print): 2576-1919 ISSN (Online): 2574-4437 Website: Editor-in-chief: Peter Hart
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Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2018, 3(1), 60-67
DOI: 10.12691/jpar-3-1-10
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The Impact of Physically Active Brain Breaks on College Students’ Activity Levels and Perceptions

Alicia C. Stapp1, and Laura F. Prior1

1Department of Teacher Education, The University of Mississippi, University, United States of America, 38677

Pub. Date: August 07, 2018

Cite this paper:
Alicia C. Stapp and Laura F. Prior. The Impact of Physically Active Brain Breaks on College Students’ Activity Levels and Perceptions. Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2018; 3(1):60-67. doi: 10.12691/jpar-3-1-10


A majority of adults in the United States do not attain the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each week. This is precipitated by an increased amount of time spent in environments that inhibit movement and promote sedentary behaviors — at work, at home, and in cars. College-aged students (18-29) also engage in a greater amount of sedentary behaviors as they encounter a transitional period in life where many begin making independent lifestyle choices for the first time. Despite the trend towards physical inactivity, higher education provides the ideal platform to develop and employ methods that can impact students’ physical activity behaviors. Thus, this study compared the effect of physically active brain breaks in a college classroom on college students’ physical activity levels to students who did not participate in physically active brain breaks. An embedded sequential mixed methods design was utilized wherein quantitative data was collected via pedometers during class, while student interviews provided qualitative data to assist the researchers in understanding participants perceptions within the experimental intervention. Results indicated that participants (n = 65) who participated in physically active brain breaks acquired a higher daily step count average, compared to participants (n = 52) who did not participate in physically active brain breaks. Three themes emerged from the interviews that suggest students’ experiences with physically active brain breaks were compellingly positive and their perceptions revealed that (1) experience is essential; (2) variety is key; and physically active brain breaks are (3) engaging for all.

physical activity physically active brain breaks pedometer college students pre-service teachers

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