This is an excerpt from Teaching Healthy Lifestyles in Middle School PE eBook by Crystal Gorwitz.
Using Apps to Teach the Five Components of Fitness
Students today use technology in every facet of their lives, and physical education class is no exception! Two awesome yet simple apps that I use in my classes are iHeartRate and iMuscle (both available in the Apple iTunes store). The iHeartRate app lets you take your pulse at your neck and use your other hand to tap with your finger on the screen to show your current heart rate. The iMuscle app shows students which muscles are used while performing various skills. These are only two examples—many more fitness apps are available for use in physical education. Apps can provide a great way for you to motivate your students to exercise outside of class time. For example, you can have your students use an app while exercising, save the data, and bring it to class the next day for you to review. Students can also use the pedometer app to see if they are reaching the goal of 10,000 steps a day. They can share in class how many steps they took during the previous day, and if they did not meet the goal, you can give them suggestions for integrating more fitness time into their schedules.
I would recommend starting with just one app and using it at home before you use it in your classroom. After you feel comfortable using it, share it with your students! If you are already using apps in your everyday life, share them with your students and talk about how the app is helping you lead a healthy lifestyle. You can also challenge your students to bring in titles of fitness or healthy lifestyle apps to class for you to check out. It is not necessary for the students to purchase the app—they can simply be in charge of researching what is available, and you can include money in your budget to purchase apps and try them out with your students to get their feedback. You will be amazed at how excited your students get about fitness when you start including apps in your lessons!
Read more about Teaching Healthy Lifestyles in Middle School PE by Crystal Gorwitz.