All four District 202 high schools now have heart rate monitors in physical education classes to help students meet their personal cardiovascular fitness goals.
The monitors at each school can be worn with a wristband, armband, or chest strap.
Students can use the heart rate monitors to individualize workouts and set goals according to the students’ heart rate, said Brian Beck, Plainfield South High School physical education division chair.
“Heart rate monitors give an objective assessment for each student based on students’ effort, not their behavior,” Beck added. “Students receive credit for what they do, not how fast they can run, how strong they are or how they shoot a basketball.”
The heart rate monitors record exercise time, minutes spent in the fitness zone and students’ current heart rate, said Jennifer Tomczak, Plainfield High School – Central Campus physical education division chair.
Each monitor is linked to students’ individual settings through the Polar Go Fit App, said Adam O'Reel, Plainfield East High School physical education division chair.
“The settings are based off the students’ max heart rate and they have to reach goals of anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent target heart rate,” O’Reel added.
The heart rate monitors give students and teachers immediate feedback on the intensity of the activity level, which can be viewed on an iPad and reports generated through the device system, said Lynette Bayer, Plainfield North High School physical education division chair.
In many classes, a projector also displays students’ identification number with their target heart rates. This gives students the opportunity to assess how they are performing in real time and adjust their intensity level as needed, Tomczak said.
The heart rate monitors have been received positively by students, Beck said. “I have seen students’ motivation to be active increase tremendously on the days they are wearing a heart rate monitor,” Beck added.
The implementation of heart rate monitors has emphasized cardiovascular health, O’Reel said. “It creates great conversation between the students and the teachers on the importance of cardiovascular health and has made it easier to judge efforts of each student,” O’Reel added.
In addition, the use of heart rate monitors has incorporated more technology in class, O’Reel said. “Students enjoy new technology, and this is exactly what we need to take the next step forward with our fitness,” he added.