Waupun students get heart healthy

January 8, 2018

WAUPUN — Grade school students in Waupun Area School District have a new way of learning how to become healthier. The students are using technology in order to assess their activity levels.

The program at Rock River Intermediate School has been amped up to include two types of monitors for the children to learn more about reaching their fitness goals.

“All students from K-12 have access to pedometers,” Rock River physical education teacher Jackie Clark said. “My students at Rock River wear them daily and we have the downloadable pedometers, which records their pedometer scores and students analyze their data at the end of each quarter to set goals based on their step counts. These downloadable pedometers not only allow students to analyze their activity level, but also allow me as a teacher to analyze my teaching to make sure I am providing adequate activity time in my lessons to allow students to meet their goals.”

Clark said she has been using pedometers for 15 years as a form of assessment, but it is only recently through the help of grants that the students have been able to benefit by using FitStep Pro Pedometers, which allow Clark to analyze the moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

“MVPA is important for students to understand because there is a difference between activity time and moderate to vigorous activity time,” Clark said. “MVPA is the time the students are working in their target heart rate zone to get an aerobic benefit. It is recommended that students be in MVPA for 50 percent of their physical education class. Using pedometers allows students to see how physically active they are as compared to using our heart rate monitors, which allows students to get in their target heart rate zone to get an aerobic benefit.”

The students also have incorporated heart monitors in their physical education classes. Adidas Zone Heart Rate Monitors not only show a number but also a color which allows students to easily monitor what zone they are in, Clark said.

“If their watch is glowing blue, they know they are in the cool zone and not in their target heart rate zone,” Clark said. “If their watch is glowing green, they are in their go zone and in their heart rate zone. This is where they want to be. If their watch is glowing red, they are above their target heart rate zone and just a red flag that they can be in that zone but for an extended period of time, their heart is working near its limit or max.”

Your heart is the most important muscle in your body and in order to strengthen that muscle, you must give your heart an aerobic benefit a recommended 20-plus continuous minutes in that green zone, Clark said.

“My pedometers actually measure step count, Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity Time as well as basic activity time,” Clark said. “I believe the more tools you can give students to understand their own fitness level, the more likely they are to understand what they need to do to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

“The use of my FitStep Pro pedometer and Adidas Zone Heart Rate Monitors has changed my teaching. I love teaching and making a difference in the lives of my students and know that by personalizing fitness at this young level, will hopefully be the catalyst for my students to continue leading an active healthy life.”

The students share both sets of monitors. There are 28 heart rate monitors and 35 pedometers. The heart rate monitors were $4,500 with the software, monitors and charging station and the downloadable pedometers were $1,500.

The technology was purchased through grants from the Educational Foundation of Waupun, Walmart Foundation, Action for Healthy Kids, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Shopko Foundation.

“I am truly blessed that the donors believed in my project and the healthy difference these will make in the lives of my students,” Clark said.