Using my iPad for Fitness

Today I had an S1 class during a fitness block and wanted them to fully understand how their heart works while they are exercising and for them to create an exercise programme for themselves. So far i had not used my iPad in these lessons and tended to focussing on keeping the pupils active (contrary to recent headlines), alongside learning to use all of the equipment safely and in control. For this lesson i wanted the pupils to focus on checking their heart rate often throughout the lesson and also use the iPad to focus on their own exercise.

The class were split up into two groups and one group worked on cardio machines and keeping their heart rate high and the other focused on using gym equipment to work on any area of their body they identified as a weakness the week prior. Last weeks lesson the pupils completed a muscular endurance test which looked at exerting all the major muscle groups and how many reps of a set exercise  they could complete in a minute. With this knowledge they could identify where on their body their weakness lies.

The pupils working on their exercise programme had the choice of using the free weights section and the weight machines (i had clear limits on how much they could lift at any one station). These pupils all got 2 minutes with the iPad. We used the Full Fitness HD app. With the app you select a part of your body e.g. Arms and the app comes up with full descriptors of quite a lot of exercises for this part of your body. The pupils enjoyed their time with the iPad and loved searching for what exercises they could do. The pupils created a workout on the app and then wrote it down to complete in their own time (the previous lesson we spoke of sets and reps and importance of rest and recovery and across the whole this had sunk in).

The pupils focusing on cardio had the choice of spin bikes, rowers, treadmills or cross trainers and they were tasked with working within their desired training zone which was explained to them using the Karvonen formula and a task sheet. The pupils found their training zone and were on their way. They stopped every 10 minutes to check their heart Rate and make a note of it on their task sheet. With these pupils we spoke of what our heart was doing during exercise and how it pumps blood (and oxygen) around the body. To add meat to this discussion iused the Virtual Heart app. the app shows a clear picture of a working heart (inside and out) the app allows you to increase or decrease the beats per minute and focus on the valves. The pupils appreciated getting a closer look at their heart with this app and enjoyed sampling the app with low HR and high HR.

Overall both groups benefited from both the exercise, as they chose their own work, and from use of the iPad. I am slowly embedding this into my practice and the pupils are loving it. I am using it sparingly at the minute as i get used to it within my teaching but i have been enthused by what is going on around the world and in Scotland with iPads and i hope to be a part of this revolution.

I would recommend both Full Fitness HD and Virtual heart apps to any physical educator and it really enhanced the learning and enthusiasm for this fitness lesson. the results were clear for all to see come the end of the period.



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