Students focused on heart rate training during physical education often break one of the longest-standing rules in education: no running in the school hallways.
The students mean no disrespect to authority. They just don’t want to let their heart rate drop during a class session, even if they have to excuse themselves.
“The other day a kid had to go to the bathroom, and our principal came running into the weight room,” said Ridge View (Iowa) High School P.E. teacher Justin Kinney. “He asked if there was an emergency, and I said, ‘No, why?’ And he pointed out that student and said, ‘Well, he was just sprinting through the lunch room and we were worried and thought something might be wrong.’ Well, he was running because he wanted to get back to his workout so he could keep his heart rate up.”
Kinney’s students wear heart rate monitors during their P.E. classes. The monitors, along with software that assesses performance immediately after the workout, give the students and teachers data about their heart rate:
- actual heart rate throughout the workout
- heart rate zone
- minutes of exercise at an elevated heart rate compared to the class goal
Students strive to meet a daily goal of minutes spent exercising at an elevated heart rate. Since introducing the IHT Zonewrist heart rate monitors, the teacher has been excited by the significant increase in the effort he’s seen from his students.
“I don’t know if it’s because the kids know that the hard data is going to show us exactly what’s going on or if they are that self-motivated that they want to achieve the goals that are set for them,” Kinney said, though he’s pleased they are putting forth effort to learn habits that will benefit them well beyond their school years.
“We want to help them learn the knowledge so they can be healthy throughout their lives,” he said.
Across the country in Middleborough, Mass., J.T. Nichols Middle School students may also be seen running through the halls, for many of the same reasons. Depending on the weather, students participating in a cross country running unit designed by teachers Kelly Rich and Meghan Enos may be forced off the nearby trails, school rules beware.
“When we do get bad weather, we turn that day’s class into running through the hallways,” Rich said, “which the kids get really excited for because they get to run in the halls and not get [in trouble].”
Rich’s students also run with the IHT Zone HRMs and are studying how exercise, namely running, can benefit them long-term.
“Learning how to pace themselves and use their target heart rate so they can be working in their [optimal] zone is very important,” Enos said. “We’re trying to get more life-long activities in our classes. We want to help them find their niche, find activities they can participate in on their own time and develop more active lifestyles.”
Those are goals administrators can support, even it if means occasionally overlooking a rule when students come running down the hallways.
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