More schools are finding that using heart rate monitoring physical education class makes students more aware of their heart rates when exercising.
In Cedar Rapids, fifth graders at St. Matthew’s Elementary School bounced and did jumping jacks while waiting for the next activity. They wanted to see changes in heart rate projected on the gym wall.
The heart rate monitors on their wrists are similar to Fitbits, and are produced by Heart Zones USA. They record the heartbeat, and give real time feedback. Students can instantly see if they are in the low activity blue zone, the yellow zone of moderate activity, or the red zone of highest activity. They spend a certain amount of time in each zone during the class.
According to physical education teacher Heath Mueller, 37, the devices have completely changed the class.
“I have never seen them work so hard,” he said. “It’s instantaneous feedback.”
“I’ve seen heart rate monitors since college. They’ve come such a long way,” Mueller said.
“I honestly feel like this is the future of P.E.,” he said. “When you look at individual exercise, this is what it is going to. When they become adults, this is what they’ll use, and they’ll already be comfortable with it.”