How physical activity can boost young brains

Originally published Sept. 23, 2017, in the Las Cruces Sun-News

Savannah Burke, For the Sun-News

There was a time when children would play outdoors and get exercise by riding bicycles, running or playing hopscotch. The popularity of cell phones, video games and computers and increased academic demands have contributed to the decline in outdoor play for children. Except when children are involved in sports, gymnastics or similar activities, some may not be getting enough exercise, which may lead to undesired health consequences.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular physical activity during childhood is important for promoting lifelong health and well-being and preventing various health conditions. Not only does regular physical activity improve overall health and fitness among children, but they will also build strong bones and muscles and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.

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New IHT Spirit Mobile App extends adidas ZONE heart rate training beyond school walls

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, IHT released its newest tool to further personalize physical education for every student: the IHT Spirit Mobile App.

The new mobile app, available as a free download through the Google Play and iOS App stores, enables users to take part in physical education classes and workouts connected to the IHT Spirit System® outside of the traditional school day and classroom. By controlling their adidas Zone for IHT Spirit wrist heart rate monitors on their mobile phones, students connect back to classroom workouts or track workouts they design themselves.  

IHT worked closely with adidas to develop a mobile app that takes the monitors beyond the classroom. A growing number of students fulfill their physical education requirement outside of the traditional classroom setting. More than 55 percent of U.S. school systems offer students the opportunity to take physical education as part of a virtual learning program. Read More


Clyde-Savannah Elementary receives Active Schools award

Originally published Sept. 14, 2017 in the Wayne Post.

Active Schools, a national movement dedicated to ensuring 60 minutes of daily physical activity is the norm in K-12 schools, honored Clyde-Savannah Elementary School with the 2017 Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award for its efforts in creating an active school environment.

The award is the nation’s top physical education and physical activity distinction for K-12 schools, and celebrates a school’s commitment to providing students with at least 60 minutes a day of before, during and after school physical activity. Only 452 schools across the country received the award in 2017.

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Dr. Katie Harper Wright Elementary wins IHT Spirit Video Challenge powered by adidas

(Interactive Health Technologies | IHT Spirit PE Software | Heart Rate Monitors — May 21, 2017) Austin, Texas — Capture-new eslThe 2017 IHT Spirit Video Challenge Powered by adidas wrapped up with a flurry of activity, and a panel of judges decided that the video submitted by Dr. Katie Harper Wright Elementary School in East St. Louis, IL did the best job of “Proving their Program.”

Submitted by PE teacher David Kober, the two-minute video featured students describing how the health and physical education school is improving each year. Students walk through school describing the healthy choices they learn to make every day and how their ability to take ownership of their health and fitness would be enhanced with the addition of IHT’s technology.

Kober’s class wins a set of 28 adidas ZONE for IHT Spirit heart rate monitors, a three-year license to operate IHT’s Spirit Assessment Measures software, and an adidas-IHT Power Package that includes IHT’s Spirit Curriculum, student journal and training. The grand prize package is valued at $12,000.

“Our challenge this year focused on ways teachers are proving how they are transforming the lives of students,” said IHT President Jen Ohlson. “Every video submitted demonstrated the value of data-based health and physical education. To see in video after video students explaining why they benefit from heart rate data and how they are motivated to work hard and own their health inspired not only our judges but everyone who took time to view the videos.”

In 2015, IHT partnered with adidas to develop the first wearable designed specifically for health and physical education. The adidas ZONE puts students in touch with their heart rate data both during a class session and immediately after with a report delivered by email. Worn on the wrist, the ZONE delivers heart rate data with the accuracy of hospital chest strap heart rate monitors.

“We’re thrilled to be working with IHT to support PE teachers in their efforts to empower students to get and stay active,” said adidas Director of Partnerships Kim Scheffler. “Judging from the video submissions, especially the winning entry from Dr. Katie Harper Wright Elementary, it’s clear there are some exemplary teachers and students worthy of recognition who are ‘proving their program’ every day.”

The Spirit Video Challenge drew nearly 50,000 viewers and voters. Videos were judged on a combination of quality (70 percent), originality and creativity (20 percent) and vote total (10 percent).

Other winning videos include second-place Silvia School (Terry Mahjoory) in Fall River, Mass.; third place Maury River Middle School (Vicki Black) in Lexington, Va., and fourth place Anderson Elementary (Lynell Addis) in Frisco, Texas. The video from Silvia School received the most votes, followed closely by Anderson. Each of the top four winning videos received prizes from IHT and adidas. Runner-up prizes included the IHT Spirit Assessment Measures software, IHT’s Spirit Curriculum and an adidas/IHT power package that includes apparel and more.

Deb Funke at Rose Hill Middle School, Rose Hill, Kan., won the raffle for a $200 adidas Smart Ball. Videos that showcased adidas products automatically qualified for a raffle.

Interactive Health Technologies, LLC

Austin, Texas United States


Fitness test tracking

Lisa Simpson, The Royal Gazette (Bermuda)

Fri, 24 June, 2016

Physical education teachers have been taught how to use a new computer programme to help empower their students to lead healthy lifestyles.

Teachers from across the island’s public schools took part in the training session about the Spirit System, which includes standardised fitness assessment tools, at Berkeley Institute on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The training was important in that it emphasised the current health-oriented approach to Bermuda’s physical education programme, which focuses on all school-aged children, instead of only on fitness and the more athletic children,” Healthy Schools co-ordinator Marie Beach-Johnson told The Royal Gazette. She added: “This training session will help to facilitate Healthy Schools, which includes the vital partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Department of Health, by ultimately providing school-aged children with the lifelong tools to improve their health and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Ms Beach-Johnson said the training involved hands-on practice with the Spirit System programme and practical activities to simulate what PE teachers will have the students do for each of the fitness component tests.

“The primary goal is that PE teachers will administer each fitness test in a standardised manner that allows the results to be reliable and valid,” she explained.

“PE teachers also learnt that the Spirit System is an extremely powerful tool that is the foundation of the Premier’s Youth Fitness Programme, which will enable PE teachers to empower their students to develop healthy lifestyles and expose them to age-appropriate physical activities.”

Furthermore, they learnt about how wrist heart monitors can increase their students’ interest in physical activity and motivation to become more physically active, she added.

Expert members of the Premier’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, which was convened last year and consists of professionals who have worked with children in health and fitness, also spoke to the teachers.

Richard Fulton highlighted the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Child Growth Charts and how PE teachers should interpret their students’ body mass index.

Dr Fulton also discussed when a child should be referred to their school nurse or paediatrician.

And public health nutritionist and registered dietitian Cymone Hollis discussed the importance of nutrition and reviewed the EatWell Bermuda Dietary Guidelines.

While the training session was aimed at public schoolteachers, Ms Beach-Johnson added that the Premier’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition plans to meet with the principals of the island’s private schools in the early autumn to discuss implementation of the Spirit System.