Physical activity before and after school provides opportunities for all students, including those with special needs, to:
- practice what they have learned in physical education,
- work toward the nationally recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity,
- become more adequately prepared for learning,
- engage in safe, social, and supervised activities, and
- identify activities they enjoy and might engage in long term.
Before- and after-school physical activity programs offer students an opportunity to be physically active instead of waiting in a sedentary setting for the school day to begin or end, and might include a walking and biking to school program, physical activity clubs and intramural programs (e.g., programs that are voluntary, student-centered, and give equal opportunity for all students to participate), informal recreation or play on school grounds, physical activity in school-based child care programs, integrating physical activity in homework during out of school hours, and interscholastic sports. Finally, before- and after-school physical activity programs can be coordinated with community-based organizations (e.g., YMCAs, community parks and recreation) and delivered in school settings, providing benefits to the students, families, and community members.