Intrinsically Motivated, Free-Time Physical Activity: Considerations for Recess

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The current childhood obesity rates raise concern about youths' health and the role that a sedentary lifestyle plays in this growing trend. Focusing on how children choose to spend their free time is one approach that may yield ideas for reducing childhood obesity. Recess is a regularly occurring "free time" period in elementary schools. It is, however, often overlooked as a good time to help children discover enjoyable physical activities and increase their motivation to engage in more movement, thus forming physical activity habits that can potentially reduce the prevalence of obesity. This article presents information on best practices for promoting children's free-time physical activity; offers guidelines for increasing children's intrinsic motivation to be active during recess; and discusses the various environmental, personal, and social barriers to children's recess physical activity.



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