Dec. 19, 2016 

This weekend, we’ll celebrate Christmas with our friends, families, and loved ones. From all of us at IHT, thank you for all the work you do for kids and their health every single day.

For IHT, this year has been filled with immense gratitude for so many. As we lead up to Sunday; a day of unity, family, gifts, love and appreciation, we’d like to share some of the valuable lessons our staff has learned and how the holiday spirit comes year-round when impacted by teachers and children.

Lift Others Up By Giving of Yourself

Taught by Doug Hallberg, Draper Middle School, NY and Kim Scheffler, Director New Business Development and Partnerships.


Doug Hallberg and Kim Scheffler begin design of the IHT Zone, Sept. 2015.

When you look for ways to contribute to others, when you use your gifts to help others, it is one of the best joys in life. When that is wrapped around a sense of community and purpose, great change happens for us all. In September, IHT completed a year-long project in the creation of the IHT Zone. Our new wrist-based heart rate monitor, developed specifically for schools, could have never been developed without the amazing digital sports team, led by Kim Scheffler and key teachers to listen to and learn from like Doug Hallberg, the New York and Eastern District Middle School Teacher of the Year, who flew to Germany early in the Zone’s development to help engineers understand how to build the most ideal wearable for education.  What we learned from Kim, Doug and so many teachers is that sharing ideas and innovation with those most passionate about the cause builds us all up. When you give the gift of sharing what makes you come alive, you create a ripple effect of joy that touches many and builds bridges between everyone.

Doug Hallberg and IHT CEO Ben Bentzin with students using the new IHT Zone monitors in June 2016.

Doug Hallberg and IHT CEO Ben Bentzin with students using the new IHT Zone monitors in June 2016.

Sharing time and listening to change agents like those involved in the Zone’s development reminds us that we are all connected, we are all in this together and together, we are stronger. By creating a sense of togetherness and sharing the gifts you have with others, you instill a sense of community and well-being in the whole.

Success is No Accident

Taught by John Dunlop, PE Teacher at Portage Central (Mich.) Middle School and his Students


Students at Portage Central Middle School in Michigan broke the 3 million calorie mark while keeping heart rates in the moderate-to-vigorous zone an average of 67.0% of class time.

Our entire team gets humbled every time we step into a school to share time with the amazing PE teachers and their students. The great soccer star Pele said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”  

One of our most inspiring examples this year is from the students at Portage Central Middle School. Driven by the leadership and passion of PE Teacher John Dunlop, at the beginning of the semester, the students set a goal to burn more than 3 million calories in one semester. To get there, they knew they’d each have to do their part in keeping their heart rate elevated at a moderate to vigorous level (in the zone) every day, while encouraging and supporting their classmates to do the same.    


John Dunlop not only inspires his students, he’s an incredible role model for his daughter Abby.

From a small seed and a first step, a big idea and an incredible accomplishment bloomed. Not only did the PCMS students break the 3 million calorie mark, they average 67 percent of class time and a whopping 240,472 total minutes in the zone.

Inspired by Portage’s passion, dedication and hard work, we learned how Coach Dunlop is empowering his students every day and sharing his knowledge and passion with young people to make a positive difference in their lives. “It’s been awesome to watch the Spirit System in action and the feedback from students and their parents, especially since I’m a parent myself” he said. “It’s been an incredible year to be able to share all of this objective data with parents every day and to motivate kids. I felt a renewed sense of accomplishment professionally as well.”

Live a Great Story and Share it With Others

Taught by Dick Fosbury, Olympic High Jump Gold Medalist and Kaitlyn Bloemer, PE Teacher at Bay View (Wisc.) Middle School


HSSD Superintendent Damian LaCroix, Dick Fosbury, Bay View PE teacher Kaitlyn Bloemer.

Nothing gets you more rejuvenated and inspired for what our profession is about then when an entire school and district gets behind their PE program. This year Kaitlyn Bloemer and her students at Bay View Middle School in the Howard Suamico School District outside Green Bay, WI won the Spirit Video Challenge with the best video showcasing how Bay View Middle School is “Raising the Bar in PE.” (Watch their winning video here).  The grand prize was a class set of IHT Zone monitors and a pep rally at the school with Olympic legend and legacy athlete Dick Fosbury, who revolutionized the high jump with his “Fosbury Flop.”

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The entire student body, teachers and administrators including Superintendent Damian LaCroix listened to Mr. Fosbury’s inspiring story while he in turn applauded Bay View for its amazing efforts in physical education. Mr. Fosbury shared that his success was due to the mentors, teachers and the blessings, big and small that have come into his life. He made a life-long commitment to live with an attitude of gratitude and he taught us that valuing all the goodness, beauty, relationship and love around you brings those things back to you tenfold. Everyone in attendance took home life lessons that day. Watch the video here.

Appreciate Your Loved Ones and Tell Them They Are Loved

Told by Jen Ohlson, taught from her dad Russ

Jen Ohlson and family

Jen Ohlson and family

My Dad, Russ, who along with my Mom, was my biggest fan and greatest teacher. He would have been 73 this Christmas and would love to be sharing the holiday with our entire family. Unfortunately, because of a life of smoking and unhealthy habits, he passed away seven years ago at the very young age of 66. On Christmas, we’ll celebrate at my brother’s house with his beautiful family and my wonderful mom. We continuously tell each other how grateful we are for each other, how much we love each other and we will always toast my Dad and celebrate his life, all missing him dearly. I know my Dad would love to see his children and grandchildren open presents on Christmas morning, but he taught me the hard way that if you don’t take care of this one body and this one life you have, it can be taken from you prematurely. The same goes for our world and our future health, especially, our children’s well-being.  I’m reminded this week that you never know the last time you’ll be able to say “thank you” and “I love you” to those who have made such a difference in your life and to see each day as a gift.

This Christmas reach out, give a hug, say “thanks” and “I love you” to those teachers and mentors in your life who have inspired you and shown you the way; to those who have loved you, believed in you and made you know that you matter, no matter what. Acknowledge all you have big and small, give yourself a hug, and embrace and be grateful for all of the people and events that make you who you are. Share your gifts with others and help them along their path. Most of all, take the time to focus on what you are thankful for, this Christmas and every day of the year.

Now it’s your turn! Share who or what’s at the top of your grateful list.