Trained athletes suffer from district required heart rate monitors in P.E.

Guardian Staff

Every year schools make advancements in technology and grasp cutting-edge tools available to make improvements in learning. In the past few years, District 214 received the iPads: devices that facilitate scholarship and expand what students are able to do in the classroom. These, we think, were a smart move. This year, the district implemented heart rate monitors in PE classes: devices that constantly malfunction and put athletic students at a disadvantage. This, we think, was a not so smart move.

Now, we aren’t absolutely hating on the heart rate monitors. On paper, and in certain cases, they work really well. For those who don’t take PE, the goal is for students to spend a specified amount of time each day in the green zone of cardiovascular activity. From least active to most active, the zones go: gray, blue, green, orange, red. All time students spend above the blue zone contributes to their daily goal. If their goal is reached, they receive their points for the day.

While this is a pretty efficient way of cracking the whip on students who usually don’t exercise, it puts athletes at a serious disadvantage. The more physically fit a student is, the lower their resting heart rate is. Take a well-trained Cross Country or Track runner, for example; arguably, he or she will have one of the highest rates of cardiovascular endurance in the school and will therefore take longer to reach the green zone in their PE class.

We know what you’re thinking: why don’t they just work harder? Well, an average PE class includes 10 minutes to change, about 5 minutes for warm ups, and another couple of minutes for instruction. When one accounts for the time it takes to actually reach the green zone and include any sort of breaks built into the workout, athletes will often simply run out of time.

Another thing to be accounted for is technical error. During a certain PE period, an unspecified Guardian writer noted that in class of 28 students, nine had a heart rate reading zero beats per minute. What, were they all dead?

Okay, we’re not asking for the heart rate monitors to be removed, but we would simply like to see PE teachers take into account the physical fitness and athletic capabilities of their students and tailor workout routines to individual students.