Caldwell students among first in Idaho to use heart rate technology in P.E.

Caldwell - Students at a Caldwell school are among the first in the state to use heart rate technology to improve their fitness, proving gym class is not like how you remember it.

In a world where Fitbits and other fitness trackers are seemingly everywhere, the heart rate technology featured in those devices has made its way into gym class.

"At yellow, you're at perfect exercise," said Jose, a seventh-grader. "...and once you get to red, you're at like, epic exercise."

Students in Angie Rodger's physical education class at Heritage Community Charter School sync their wrist-worn heart rate monitors before jumping into the day's lesson. 

"I feel excited," said Julian, a seventh-grader. "I feel like I'm doing good in class."

Software analyzes students' activity data and delivers reports to teachers.

"Students that I thought maybe weren't working as hard and increasing in their physical activity, I can see that they are actually in their target heart rate zone," said Rodgers. "And students that are really fit, they seem like they're working hard, but their heart rate says they're at the lower level. So it helps me to gage a little bit better."

Providing a more personalized approach to P.E., and these Caldwell students are among the first in the state to experience it.

"We get to use something different than what other schools use," said Mario, a seventh-grader.

Rodgers hopes this unique approach to P.E. will transfer to her students lives outside of school.

"I want the kids to understand how they work, so they'll be using the data when they become adults and that they'll know what it means, so they can stay healthy for a lifetime," said Rodgers.

The Idaho Department of Education has partnered with the developer of that heart rate monitor and software, to help improve P.E. programs across the state in the coming year.

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