Taylor Polson


Stellion, Megan Babkes


School of Sport and Exercise Science


University of Northern Colorado

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Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



25 pages

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Born digital


It is well known that physical activity (PA) has many physiological and psychological benefits to the human body (Donaghy, 2007; Taliaferro, Rienzo, Pigg, Miller, & Dodd, 2009; VanKim & Nelson, 2013; Gerber, Brand, Elliot, Holsboer-Trachsler, & Puhse, 2014). Research on the psychological effects of exercise has shown that PA can decrease depression and feelings of hopelessness (Taliaferro, Rienzo, Pigg, Miller, & Dodd, 2009). Specifically, the effects of PA in classrooms on the psychological health and academic performance of students has become an area of focus, both in and out of the United States. Physical activity has been implemented into the classroom in the form of physical activity breaks (P.A.B.s), in which students participate in short bouts of exercise during class. Research on P.A.B.s has shown many benefits, including decreasing off-task behavior, improving test scores, and increasing the amount of PA outside of classrooms (Bray & Born, 2004; Ma, Mare, & Gurd, 2014; Bailey & DiPerna, 2015; Bunkertorp et al, 2015; Ma, Mare, & Gurd, 2015). However, most of the research has been focused on elementary and middle school students. This project analyzed the questionnaire responses from a study that implemented P.A.B.’s into the undergraduate university/college class, which was a context of P.A.B.s implementation that had yet to be explored. Survey responses of reasons, or motives, students gave regarding participation, or not, in the P.A.B.s were thematically content analyzed. Enjoyment, needing a break, and contributing to the study were the top reasons students chose to participate. Not feeling well, being unprepared, or just not wanting to were the main themes found for why students chose not to participate in the P.A.B.s.

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Copyright is held by the author.