Heart Monitors in PE

I’ve had a handful of Heart Rate (HR) monitors sitting in my PE storeroom cupboard for a number of years now but they’ve only come out a handful of times. These are the most basic of Polar HR monitors that allow you to measure HR, set target HR zones and nothing much else. I’ve only really ever used them until now for measuring the effects of exercise intensity on HR once or twice a year.

However, today I pulled them out with my elective Physical Activity and Sport Studies class as we’d been talking about the National Physical Activity Guidelines (NPAGs) and thought it would be a good way of assessing whether different sports achieve moderate intensity. We’d put figures on what a moderate HR would be and the students were to check HR’s regularly and at the end of a 10 minute period we would discuss whether the physical activity would achieve the NPAGs.

What I realised straight away, was that the HR monitors actually engaged students in a different way. They were keen to see how hard they were working, what running harder would do to their HR . Clearly, what I’ve learned is that using simple technology like this can have a huge impact on getting students interested in what’s happening to their body while they exercise. Unfortunately, these HR monitors don’t allow me to download the data or give average HR for the duration which I think would be really valuable for student learning and understanding. It would also be great to download data to combine with GPS feedback – but more of that later.

For now it’s off to find a few more HR monitors that offer more feedback for the students …