PE Heart Rate Technology Improves Student Exercise Motivation
By introducing wrist heart rate monitors into their programs, PE teachers increase exercise motivation and accountability for students to learn intrinsic exercise skills that will serve as the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Students can gauge for themselves if they are on pace to meet the daily goal from what they see on the IHT Zone wrist heart rate monitors they wear during class. Immediately following class, students see through reports generated by the IHT Spirit System key workout metrics including:
- Total time spent exercising
- Minutes spent in each heart rate zone
- Minutes spent in the target heart rate zones
- Confirmation that they met or exceeded the daily goal
Teachers remain engaged with students as they conduct a workout, but as Odebolt Arthur Battle Creek Ida Grove High School (Ida Grove, Iowa) PE Teacher Jeff Miesner learned, he can deliver more individualized feedback when students have questions because he’s no longer consumed with leading the class through its exercises.
“I might occasionally walk by a student and compliment them on working hard,” he said. “If I noticed a student or group wasn’t where they should be I just mentioned where their heart rates should be for that activity then students would check their heart rate monitors and continue to monitor themselves from that point. It helped so much with a measurable device for assessing student effort.”
Miesner’s PE colleagues see students working harder than they have before, striving to meet each goal and maximize their time spent exercising in their target heart rate zones.
“With the heart rate monitors, the students – especially the younger ones – are trying to squeeze every last second of exercise out of their bodies,” said IDEA Public Schools PE Curriculum Director Eren Kirksey. “They want to stay in the yellow or red zones. They are moving for a good reason.”
While students see the results of their work in real time, parents also see exactly what’s going on as well. While parent conferences with PE teachers consisted of general feedback based on anecdotal observation, teachers share data with parents directly from each student’s Spirit System account.
“You can run any kind of customized heart-rate report from any time frame from whatever classes you want to look at, whether you want to look at individuals or groups and you have that data in seconds and it gives you a clear picture of what’s going on in class,” said Portage Central (Mich.) Middle School PE Teacher John Dunlop. “There hadn’t been a lot of objective data to share with parents. Well, now I finally had that in the heart-rate data to share with each parent of each individual kid.”
“This is real data that I can talk to kids about, that I can talk to parents about, that I can talk to my administration about,” said Doug Hallberg, PE teacher at Draper (NY) Middle School.
Conferences show parents exactly what students learn through physical education over the course of the year. How students manage their fitness at home and over the summer shows parents they understand what they’ve learned.
“I had several students who used to live a sedentary lifestyle communicate with me last summer about them starting workouts and trying to become healthier,” Miesner said, “just for themselves and not because someone told them to do so.”