Integration of movement breaks into the undergraduate classroom: keeping students and instructors active and engaged

Integration of Movement Breaks into the Undergraduate Classroom: Keeping Students and Instructors Active and Engaged

“We produced 8 3-minute videos to support the delivery of in-class movement breaks.”


Under this project, we produced 8 3-minute videos to support the delivery of in-class movement breaks. Movement break videos consisted of stretches, light aerobic exercises, and mindfulness activities developed and led by certified fitness and mindfulness instructors. We developed an implementation toolkit, hosted a training session, and provided on-going online support to all instructors in implementing the movement breaks in their classrooms. In total, 1400 students from 22 courses across the three University of Toronto Campuses participated in the project.

The student participants provided pre-post self-report data and general feedback on their experience participating in the movement break intervention. Data for this project has been cleaned and analyzed. Preliminary data has been shared at an international conference, Centre for Behavior Change, in April of 2019, the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) lunch and learn in April 2019, as well as the annual symposium hosted by CTSI.

A manuscript titled “Poor Health Disparities Among Racialized Students in a Canadian University” is currently under review and two other manuscripts focusing on the impact of Movement Breaks on wellbeing and engagement of students is being prepared.


Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Project Lead(s)

Dr. Ananya Banerjee;
Dr. Jackie Bender

Year LEAF Granted


Funding Stream


LEAF Priority Area(s)

Experiential Learning


Impact of the Project on Students

The videos created for this project were well received and were uploaded onto our OpenUToronto website ( and are able to be accessed by all faculty and students.

These videos have been shared with staff across U of T and many courses have utilized them in their lectures which impact the student experience.

Impact of the Project on Faculty

We published our videos from the project online ( and have also created additional videos to share on the platform.

Faculty members across U of T are able to access these videos easily and stream them in their classrooms. We are able to monitor the viewership of the videos and have noticed the increase in view counts during the school semester, demonstrating their use.

Resources Developed from the Project

8 Movement Break videos were created for this project which are still used. To aid in the implementation of the videos, we created a toolkit for faculty members which is now available on our website (

Future Plans

We have created new videos and hope to be able to continue to create more Movement Break videos to be shared on our website. We will continue to promote and share the Movement Break videos with other faculty members to improve their uptake.

Partnership(s) Development

For this project we worked with the U of T Media department who helped us film and edit our Movement Break videos. We also worked with the OpenUToronto team to help build and host our website on their platform.

Following the success of the original research project, we aimed to expand our video selection and partnered with MoveU at U of T and the Underground Dance Centre, a dance studio based in Toronto, to help create more Movement Break videos.