Originally published April 27, 2018 in the Fort Madison Daily Democrat.
By Skyler Holtkamp
There will be no slacking during Fort Madison’s PE class.
The FMCSD have recently introduced heart rate monitors for the high school Physical Education course. The monitors are designed to test a students exertion level by recording their heart rate.
Each monitor is connected by Bluetooth technology to a device controlled by the educators. The program is powered by Interactive Health Technologies (IHT). Those numbers are then sorted into heart-rate zones so each student can see what level they are working at and how long they’ve been in a certain zone.
“In the short time we’ve had them,” said P.E. teacher Kelly Knustrom. “I’ve seen their motivation level drastically increase.”
The idea behind the devices is to allow the students to be health-conscious by understanding their bodies function and what level of exercise it takes to get the best results.
“The kids can see how hard they’re working by the colors on the device,” said Knustrom. “If they see that their device is blinking blue, then they know they need to work harder to get their heart rate up.”
The colors vary from green, blue, yellow and red.
The devices are set up to individually tailor to each kid’s physical attributes. Before syncing up with their device, the students will fill in some information with the IHT program – weight, height, age, resting heart rate – and the device will be able to accurately record the amount of calories burned and notify it’s user if he or she is slacking.
At this point in time the high school has 30 devices they share with multiple classes. After seeing how successful the devices were at other districts, Knustrom has been working to bring more devices to the district. Due to the high cost of the devices – a package of 35 has a price tag of $9,000 – Knustrom had to get a little innovative with the funding.
“We want to get 60 devices for the high school,” said Knustrom. “And what better way to promote them than to have a 5K.”
A Family 5K Fun Run/Walk will be held at the Middle School on May 19. The 5K will take you on the PORT trail and sidewalks around the middle school campus. The First 100 registrants of the 5K will get to wear a heart rate monitor supported by IHT. Those participants will receive data from the run/walk. A Fitness Fair will follow the run with organizations and local businesses offering resources for health and fitness.
Registration cost is $20 per person. Students (K-12) can register for $6. Register before Monday, May 7th to receive a T-shirt.
Registration can be found on the runsignup.com under FMHS FitFest, or you can join the FitFest event page on Facebook.