Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Arts




Mitchell, Marc S.

2nd Supervisor

Prapavessis, H.



Given evidence surrounding the benefits of light-intensity physical activity (LPA) and the amount of time that Canadian children spend at school, the aim of this study was to explore elementary school principals’ perceptions of implementing lighter intensity classroom-based physical activity (CBPA) outlined in the "Step" section of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. Implementation science suggests that elucidating stakeholder perceptions is an important step in promoting uptake. Principals (n=8) participated in semi-structured interviews to discuss perceptions around implementing CBPA as LPA in their schools. Data was analyzed using a thematic analysis. All principals were unaware of the Movement Guidelines. They appreciated the value of CBPA; however, implementation barriers and established norms tampered enthusiasm for the role of schools in incorporating more physical activity. With sufficient resources and training, principals agreed that more CBPA could improve student well-being. This research sheds light on the potential role of LPA in promoting student wellness.

Summary for Lay Audience

Canadian children are not moving enough and spend a lot of time sitting, especially at school. The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth were developed to help children move more and sit less. These Movement Guidelines indicate how long children should be sleeping, sitting and exercising throughout the day. The current study looked at elementary school principals’ perceptions of implementing lighter intensity classroom-based physical activity (CBPA), such as standing or slower walking, as outlined in the "Step" section of the Movement Guidelines. Eight elementary school principals participated in this interview study. The principals conveyed that the Movement Guidelinescould be useful in a classroom setting but indicated several barriers to implementation, including time constraints and teacher and administrator intrapersonal factors. It is important that principals understand the purpose and benefits of the Movement Guidelines as they would be the ones promoting it to their staff. This research contributes to the unique area of light-intensity physical activity implementation in a classroom setting. It also provides insight for physical activity guideline developers regarding ways to make resources more effective in the classroom setting.