Heart Rate Monitor Education Empowers Students to Manage Fitness
More Students Have Access to Fitness Information But Few Learn to Make Full Use of the Data
By making heart rate monitor education a vital part of using PE fitness technology, teachers enable students to take ownership of their fitness development.
“I’ve asked student after student after student: ‘I see you’ve got yourself a [commercial heart rate monitor or fitness tracker],’” said Shane Stubbs, a 20-year veteran PE teacher in Australia. “Then I say ‘hands up if you’ve ever looked at the dashboard on the app or on that website?’ Then I ask, ‘how many of you know what it means?’ None of them do.”
In 2017, Stubbs added IHT’s heart rate technology to his program. Students wear the adidas ZONE for IHT Spirit wrist heart rate monitors during class and then receive individual workout reports through an email delivered immediately after class by the IHT Spirit System® software.
By teaching his students what the emailed data will tell them, Stubbs enables his students to more easily digest data that includes:
- Total time spent exercising during class
- Time spent exercising in the target heart rate zones (exercising at an elevated heart rate)
- A color-coded heart rate graph of the just-completed workout
“I haven’t seen a company yet that built software the way IHT built it,” Stubbs said. “Giving teachers and students a heart rate monitor without educating them on how to use them or what the data means is useless.”
‘These are our Textbooks’
In the 2017-18 school year, every student in the West Des Moines (Iowa) Public Schools wore an adidas ZONE heart rate monitor during PE. In converting from another type of heart rate monitor to IHT’s technology, Brian Rhoads explained to his administrators the value the monitors – and specifically the data they put in the students’ hands – add to the district’s PE curriculum.
“Simply put, these heart rate monitors are the physical education department’s textbooks,” he said. “If we don’t provide the necessary tools, we are doing the students a disservice.”
Once the administration approved the purchase, Rhoads trained the district’s 24 PE teachers on the heart rate monitors and the software. He wanted to be certain teachers could explain to the 7,500 students using the technology what the monitors showed them and how to interpret and learn from the heart rate data they’d receive after each session.
“With IHT, the ability to collect and share data is phenomenal,” Rhoads said. “It will allow us to continue to grow in the direction we want to grow.”
Creating Lifelong Fitness Management Skills
“I want them to understand that this is important and something they should continue once they are out of school,” said Crestview (Iowa) School of Inquiry PE teacher Chris Amundson, who added IHT’s technology to his program last year.
Amundson said students became more engaged in his classes when he introduced the heart rate monitors. The teacher sets a goal for the class – how much time students need to exercise in their target heart rate zones – but the goal impacts each student individually. By providing students with basic heart rate monitor education when he introduced the technology, he created a more collaborative, community-minded PE class.
“I had kids who were standing there extra long as they were [picking up their Zones],” Amundson recalled. “I walked over to figure out what they were doing and they were all talking about how many minutes they needed to get to their goal for today; what they needed to do to push themselves.”
While students are pushing themselves to reach their target heart rate zones, Amundson can better observe each student, which allows him to deliver more direct feedback, accompanied by the Spirit System email the student receives, following class.
“Now I can actually observe my students correctly and properly, make sure they are doing everything,” he said. “I can maybe observe a couple of kids every day and give them feedback. That’s the thing I’ve been really happy with.”