IHT celebrates tenth year working with teachers to empower students to manage their overall health using heart rate technology

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Interactive Health Technologies, LLC celebrated its tenth year partnering with schools to teach children to take ownership of their health and wellness.

Developed specifically for use in education, the IHT ZONE works in both on-campus and online learning environments. Founded by Jen Ohlson and Ben Bentzin in 2011, IHT’s heart rate solutions provide schools with technology proven to teach students how to manage both physical fitness and emotional wellness. 

“When Ben and I founded IHT in 2011, we made a commitment to never waver from our purpose to empower children and young adults to take ownership of their health and wellness,” Ohlson said.

As IHT turns 10, the ZONE ranks as the top-selling heart rate monitor in education*, and students continue to validate that original purpose. They use the combination of heart rate data and teacher feedback to take ownership of their health. 

Keeping Students Focused on Important Health Habits, Metrics

In 10 years, students have logged more than 596 million minutes of Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) while wearing the IHT ZONE heart rate monitors. 

One of IHT’s founding principles focused on motivating students to achieve enough minutes of MVPA to remain healthy. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that children ages 6-17 achieve at least 60 minutes of MVPA every day. 

“Here’s what I really like about the IHT ZONEs: It is simple,” Des Moines Public Schools Physical Education and Health Curriculum Director Carlye Satterwhite said. “For these students, they just need to focus on their target heart rate. This has that information and that’s all, and to put that information into their hands earlier is huge.”

The IHT ZONE changes colors as students’ heart rate levels change, enabling even the youngest students to get themselves into the moderate (yellow) or vigorous (red) zones. The simplicity resonates with teachers. They give students goals for each session for time they should exercise in each heart rate zone.

Using Heart Rate in Social-Emotional Learning and Adapted Programs

Educators have found the IHT ZONE to be effective in SEL and Adapted PE programs in addition to general PE classes. 

The Littleton Public Schools (Colo.) use the ZONE in a program designed to help students better control their emotions during the school day.

Heart rate is a primary indicator of stress and anxiety. A heart rate monitor helps students see when their heart rate doesn’t match their activity level, helping them to learn strategies to self-manage their emotions.

“What we’ve seen has been significant,” Littleton Public Schools (Colo.) Director of Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Services Nate Thompson said. “The progress these students made was life-changing for them. This has real meaning for the kids and families who are using it, and for the staff as well.”

The NBC Today Show featured Littleton Public Schools’ emotional wellness program that includes the IHT ZONE.

In Ann Arbor (Mich.) Public Schools, students in the Adapted PE program also wear IHT’s heart rate monitors. Students learn to calm themselves when the heart rate zone displayed on their monitor doesn’t match their activity level.

“I have students who don’t understand their heart rate, but if I program the ZONE monitor appropriately, they understand it going from red to yellow to blue and can come back to class,” Ann Arbor Adapted PE Consultant Deak Swearingen explained. “That’s transcending right there.”

Evolving from On-Campus to Online IHT ZONE Use

The IHT Spirit Mobile App has allowed schools to continue using their IHT ZONE heart rate monitors while students have been learning from home. Schools provide students with an IHT ZONE monitor and a personal charger, and students use their mobile device to stay connected to their assignments and receive feedback just as they would in an on-campus program.

“This is learning in the 21st century,” Satterwhite said. “You can do it online. And, we have to provide students with alternative access to education that is meaningful and vigorous. We are legitimately teaching PE from home and it is able to be implemented with fidelity.”

When many districts realized they’d spend at least the first semester of the 2020-21 school year in online learning, they purchased enough IHT ZONEs and chargers to keep PE and student wellness a priority. As a result, students remain active and informed, receiving post-session emails with:

  • a graph of their heart rate throughout their session;
  • minutes of exercise in each heart rate zone; and
  • the opportunity to add their own feedback using a journal feature.

During the 2020-21 school year, student sessions logged through the Spirit Mobile App spiked. Schools have logged more than 19,500 mobile sessions since Sept. 1, 2020. 

A Challenge to Stay Active in 2021


IHT is celebrating its tenth birthday by launching a new IHT Spirit Video Challenge, open to both teachers and students. Teachers and students post a short (30 seconds) video getting started with an activity using the IHT ZONE and Spirit Mobile App. To be eligible for prizes, complete 10 sessions using the IHT Spirit Mobile App by Feb. 28, 2021. 

If teachers need IHT ZONE personal charges to enable students to participate, they can purchase 10 chargers at a limited-time price of $100 if ordered by Friday, Feb. 12.

Winners will be selected on March 1 and will be notified by March 8.

* - According to sales recorded in GovSpend, 2020.

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    Schools Rely on IHT ZONE to Keep Students Focused on Emotional Wellness and Physical Fitness
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    Schools Rely on IHT ZONE to Keep Students Focused on Emotional Wellness and Physical Fitness
    IHT celebrates tenth year working with teachers to empower students to manage their overall health using heart rate technology.
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    Interactive Health Technologies, LLC
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