Key Cardiovascular Fitness Metric Provides Students with Additional Data to Evaluate Heart-Healthy Workout Habits

Students using the IHT Spirit System® during their PE classes now have another metric to gauge the quality of their workout.

IHT recently added a VO2max calculator to three key measures. By learning about their VO2max score – and why raising it improves their overall fitness level – students master one more skill that will allow them to self-manage their fitness as they transition from students to adults. Additionally, improving the VO2max score may be the best way to improve overall cardiovascular fitness.


The IHT Spirit System now calculates students’ VO2max score as part of three PYFP/FG assessments.

According to the American Heart Association, VO2max is “the maximum amount of energy used during exercise.” In a recent exercise study, the AHA found that adults who committed to a regular exercise regimen of exercising at 95 percent of their maximum heart rate (MHR) increased their VO2max score by as much as 18 percent.

IHT added VO2max to frequently-assessed measures of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program/FitnessGram® tests:

  • Mile run
  • 15-meter shuttle
  • 20-meter shuttle

By incorporating heart rate over the time spent exercising, the Spirit System calculates the VO2max score for each student for each assessment. Once students know their VO2max, they can begin to work on improving their score.

“The VO2max values can be used to establish your baseline fitness level before the start of a training program and used thereafter to track your progress,” wrote Elizabeth Quinn for

Through PE that focuses on heart rate, students have automatically enrolled in a training program designed to do more than simply put them through workouts. Students also use technology – specifically the IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitor — that reinforces what they see and how they feel during each workout.

“The report they see at the end of class gives them feedback about what they have done,” said Portage Central (Mich.) Middle School PE teacher John Dunlop, whose students have worn the ZONE HRM since 2016. “They get a glimpse of the initial bar graph and then you can hear them making comments to each other comparing how they did. They motivate themselves to get as much time in the zone as they can.”

The Spirit System software immediately analyzes the data that comes from the IHT ZONE and delivers a detailed report to each student following class. Students automatically receive an email that includes their heart rate throughout the session, the amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) achieved and whether the student met the teacher’s goal of time spent exercising in the target heart rate zones that designate MVPA.

PE teachers use a variety of MVPA lessons to improve student cardiovascular fitness including:

  • High-Intensity Interval Training
  • Aerobic exercising of varying duration
  • Exercise that keeps students working at an elevated heart rate

Teachers can see immediately if the lessons resonate with the students, and students can see the value of what hard work does for their health. Chris Amundson, PE teacher at the Crestview (Iowa) School of Inquiry, saw one of his fifth-grade students change her entire outlook after seeing the benefits of heart rate training in PE.

“Now she’s going all out because she’s motivated and she can see how active she is and how her body is reacting to all of this exercise,” he said. “It’s a really strong motivator and it’s something that pushes the students.”

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    IHT Adds VO2max Calculations to Spirit System Assessments
    Article Name
    IHT Adds VO2max Calculations to Spirit System Assessments
    VO2max calculation gives students additional data to enhance their fitness skills during PE exercise sessions.
    Publisher Name
    Interactive Health Technologies, LLC
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