How can students and community stakeholders invest their fitness energy back into their homes and neighborhoods?
Written by Beth Kirkpatrick,
Heart Zones Director of Advocacy
There are several valuable steps to accomplish this outcome. First, for the fitness enthusiast, you should generate energy (aka burn calories) through physical movement activities of your choice. Second, individuals can donate that extra heart-intensity energy back using intensity zones aka heart rate zones. Third, the key to your success is to kept track of your physical activity.
To get started, one of the best ways of gifting exercise energy is to start by reaching outside the walls of your home and your school gym. Start this outreach effort by sharing the power of using tech devices such as wearables — step trackers, heart rate sensors, body temperature tools, cycling meters or using perceived exertion (hold on that’s explained next), then sharing your experiences to motive your family and community.
One important way you can give the gift of fitness energy is through the Heart Zones method of zoning. Using this method, students first learn about training in the heart rate zones. The lowest zone, Blue, represents easy effort while the Yellow zone is moderate and the Red exemplifies vigorous or hard effort. The zone training method is shown below:
Next, students and teachers choose to perform as many activities that are fun, helpful, and challenging such as:
- Raking your neighbor’s lawn
- Helping another family member with a chore
- Mowing the lawn of someone who needs help
- Spending one hour cleaning: the basement, your room, the garage
- Giving your dog a fresh bath and brush
- Vacuuming the entire house and beyond
- Taking the pet for a long walk
These are mere suggestions. You can come up with as many different movement activity ideas as you choose!
Activity: Track the Gift of Fitness Energy
Have your students or family members record how hard their hearts are working using two different methods: perceived exertion technique or the Heart Zones Method. See the Heart Zones’ ZONING chart is provided:
- See the “Talk Test” column on the chart to determine your perceived exertion during the activity.
- Estimate or measure the amount of time you spend in each heart zone throughout the activity of your choice.
- Complete the chart for “Gift of Fitness Energy” (pictured below) for a minimum of seven days that follows.
- Add the amount of time you spent in the Yellow and Red Zones. This is the total amount of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) time during the activity session.
- Summarize the amount of physical activity for all seven days – In what heart zone did you spend the most time?
Lesson #1: Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA)
The goal of the lesson is to spend time in the Yellow and Red zones because of the tremendous benefits that you reap when you are doing physical movement activities in those two intensity zones. These two zones are called the MVPA zones which constitutes the moderate to vigorous physical activity effort levels. Have your students or family members spend as much time as possible in these zones as explained below:
- Sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity that should be aerobic in nature and enhance the health of lungs and heart function.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that young people participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) daily. The HHS recommends that students engage in MVPA for at least 50% of the time they spend in class
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines MVPA effort levels as follows:
- Moderate physical activity refers to activities equivalent in intensity to brisk walking or bicycling.
- Vigorous physical activity produces large increases in breathing rate and heart rate, such as jogging, aerobic dance or bicycling uphill.
Lesson #2: Perceived Exertion Associated with Heart Rate Response
- Perceived exertion is how hard you feel like your body is working. Rating your perceived exertion is based on the physical sensations you feel during physical activity which includes increased heart rate, breathing rate, sweating rate, core body temperature and possible muscle fatigue.
- Through experience of monitoring how your body feels, it becomes easier to know when and how to adjust your intensity with more or less effort.
- A better method of zone training is to use a heart rate monitor or sensor. Using this wearable device as a tool give you powerful feedback information for motivation and engagement.
- Recording this data in a workout log or spreadsheet keeps a record of your activity in order to realize trends and have historical information because memory fades fast.
Outcomes of “A Gift of Fitness Energy”
Exercise is one of the very best ways to get in shape physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is also very useful for social and emotional learning (SEL). Expending energy aka burning activity calories, especially in your moderate Yellow zone, is even more gratifying when you combine it with giving that same energy to others. Your mind, body, and heart benefit from such generosity as you experience the joy of your chosen exercise routine, whether it is games, biking, run-walk activities or most of all – helping others with chores, activities of daily living, or doing activities the best way possible – together.Want to Learn More:
Ask Beth Kirkpatrick, pioneer and trailblazer in using physical activity to promote health using wearable devices by simply asking a question: https://www.heartzones.com/ask-beth/ We encourage you to request a free demo of the group physical activity solution for school physical education, after school activities, SEL programs, athletics, and coaching. Or contact Heart Zones directly through our office number (916 330 4307), our social media or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).