The Fitbit goes to gym class
(Neb.) Just as activity trackers have become a potent salve for lethargic baby-boomers, the gen-Xers and millennials—the wearable exercise devices are changing the outlook for sedentary children in generation Z too at least at one school district in Lincoln.
“The students just love that we have technology in the classroom,” Tanner White, a physical education teacher at the Schoo Middle School, told the Journal Star. “We have every single P.E. class wearing one. We get a real ear to the ground on how students are doing.”
Kids generally like to play but good cardio-vascular exercise is often considered boring and difficult. Once strapped into the teacher-controlled activity monitor, even some of the most resistant students became star participants.
The idea for outfitting the middle school came from Bob Rauner, a physician and community leader in Lincoln, and president of the Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln, the Journal-Star reported.
Rauner, like many health experts, are well aware of the link between fitness and academic success.
Research has shown that when students participate in regular physical activity, their grades, attendance and memory all improve. There is also evidence that students become more likely to stay on-task and be less disruptive in class.
The district used a combination of school money and grants to buy the monitors for every student in the middle school, and the results have been impressive. Fitness rates among students increased almost 12 percentage points over four years ending with the 2016-17 school year, the newspaper reported.
At the same time, only 1.3 percent of fourth and fifth graders saw similar improvement over the same period.
Last year, almost 80 percent of middle school students passed a district fitness test compared to 76 percent of fourth- and fifth-graders.