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With educational reform on the horizon, it has been interesting to read that for GCSE Physical Education, Ofqual/ DFE have decided to accentuate the importance of Anatomy & Physiology within their subject criteria. Alongside the need to examine 60% of the course theoretically through external examination, the day to day workings of a GCSE PE lesson are clearly going to change. This article explores the many possibilities of investing in pulse/ heart rate monitors to increase the interactivity of lessons.
Pulse rate monitors vary in size and cost. Gleader’s Sport Stop Watch Calorie Counter Heart Rate Monitor which retails for about £4 whereas Garmin’s Forerunner 210 Gps Sport Watch w/ Heart Rate Monitor which retails for about £400. However, within the constraints of a school budget and the simple functionality required for a PE lesson, I would recommend spending no more than £5/6. A small group of pulse rate monitors can be shared within classes and add value to the interactivity of lessons.
I have suggested 10 ways that you could include heart rate watches into your GCSE or AS/A Level lessons:
- Take a base rate resting pulse. Share results and suggest reasons why some student’s heart rate is higher/ lower than others.
- Look for an ‘anticipatory rise’. Get students to monitor their pulse and provide pre-event information- eg in 2 minutes you will start to exercise/ in two minutes you have a test/ in two minutes I will ask you to present to the class.
- Place one student on a piece of cardiovascular equipment with the watch on, while the other records heart rates
- NB Number 3 can be tied in to the new requirements re: use of data. Plot a graph
- Analyse the graph drawn in 4- what does it show you? Explain your answer
- Monitor heart rate post exercise- look for the maintained heart rate initially followed by gradual decrease and link to the demands of EPOC
- Try differing intensities of exercise and log your heart rate (again these could be graphically plotted to show steady state/ increasing intensity/ interval training) etc
- Embark on a series of training sessions and log resting heart rate levels over a period of weeks to see if there is a drop in resting heart rate as a result of bradycardia
- Carry out slightly more prolonged steady state exercise and see if there are any increases in heart rate to relate to cardiovascular drift
- Work out the aerobic training zone in relation to your age (220- age) and increase intensity until the HR is in the zone.
I hope these provide you with some ideas!
Written by Ross Howitt- Principal Moderator, Principal Examiner and lead developer for GCSE Physical Education for major examination boards.