Physical Activity & PE

Get ’em moving!

We all know having to sit still all day is no fun. Don’t you know someone who paces while on conference calls? Fidgets in meetings? (Maybe that’s you.) Furthermore, we know sitting all day is bad for our health. The same goes for our kids. Having to sit at a desk all day not only makes school less fun, it also makes it more challenging for kids to focus and learn.

Kids should be getting 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Physical activity is linked to improved behavior, concentration, memory and (all-important) test scores! But you may find out that your school is lacking in physical activity and physical education, or maybe you want to find ways to simply add some extra minutes of physical activity to your child’s day.

Physical Education (PE) vs. Physical Activity: There is a difference!

Often PE and physical activity are terms used interchangeably, but they differ in key ways you should understand. Thanks to SHAPE America, we’ll put it simply: “Physical education is where students learn to be physically active, and physical activity programs provide opportunities for students to practice what they learn in physical education…physical education should not be compared to or confused with other physical activity experiences such as recess, intramurals, or recreational endeavors.” Dig deeper at

Physical Education

Good ol’ Physical Education. You probably remember PE from when you were in school.  PE these days is new and improved and must be taught by a trained physical education teacher. Your school’s PE program should be following a fitness-based curriculum and teaching kids motor and social skills and how to confidently move their bodies for a lifetime. They might even employ your favorite ways to burn calories and keep in shape: sweating in Zumba class, navigating gym equipment, and gauging how hard you are exerting energy. Elementary school students should have 150 minutes of PE per week. Middle school students should have 225 minutes of PE per week.

Explore all the ways schools can add more physical activity to the school day—and how you can help!

Physical Activity

Physical activity comprises a whole host of things that get kids moving—before, after and during the school day. According to SHAPE, physical activity “may include recreational, fitness and sport activities such as jumping rope, playing soccer and lifting weights, as well as daily activities such as walking to the store, taking the stairs or raking the leaves.” Bonus: Kids get to practice the motor and social skills they learn in PE when they get time to be physically active in other ways.

Research is Mounting:

Children who are active do better on tests. Just look at the difference in a brain that has had just 20 minutes of walking vs. 20 minutes of sitting.

Related Topics


Necessary fun

Healthy Celebrations

It’s not a party until kids are moving.

Classroom Energizers

Breaks for the brain

Active at Home

Making fitness a family affair

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