Sports tech: innovating kids’ fitness at school

Simon Jacobs, head of education and professional development at BlazePod, discusses the benefits of sports tech

Sports technology is making its way into the education system to regenerate PE curriculums and elevate engagement rates among children.

Physical education in schools has become more important than ever. It’s well-known by now that over the past decade, studies have consistently shown that children and adolescents are becoming less active, more sedentary, and have a higher average BMI than ever before.

All these have direct detrimental effects on their young and, later on, adult life – making them more prone to developing chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity, as well as demonstrating lower serotonin levels and decreased overall wellbeing.

Tech-based sports

Governments have gradually recognised the urgency of the issue, and are allocating large budgets on programs designed to encourage kids to be more active and increase their participation in sports and physical activities.

Wearables such as smartwatches and pedometers are proving to be more than just a trend for gadget-geeks

With education institutions already experiencing rapid conversion to tech-based learning (such as remote learning, educational portals, and online learning), the need for an effective and feasible solution for remote physical education emerges. It is the schools’ responsibility to make sure that children and teens confined to their residences during lockdowns and quarantines complete standard fitness regimes and physical activities on a regular basis.

Today’s tech industry is brimming with fitness tech devices, some of which are already being used for physical education. Wearables such as smartwatches and pedometers are proving to be more than just a trend for gadget-geeks, and becoming a must-have item for health and fitness enthusiasts.

There is an abundance of fitness apps that guide users through all kinds of fitness routines: HIIT, yoga, pilates, weight-training, stretching, aerobics, and more. These tools have transformed the world of fitness in the last few years, with advanced tracking abilities and personalised, at-home guided workouts.

Gamified cognitive exercises are being utilised to help children pay attention better

These apps and devices are making their way into schools, and being used in PE lessons for tracking purposes or new, fun workout sessions.

However, not many of the fitness tech solutions address the education system’s combined need of guiding remote fitness sessions and receiving data regarding the completion of the workout and fitness progress.

Blazing a trail

BlazePod, a reaction training system activated by an app and flashing Pods, is an innovative sports tool that offers these two features: the app creates fitness activities that PE teachers can choose or customise for their pupils, and the Pods have sensors that track taps throughout the activity which are visible to the teacher via the app.

The BlazePod workout itself is, in a sense, a form of a game, making it highly suitable for encouraging younger individuals to complete the activities.

Reaction training, a method of exercise that works on a combination of cognitive and physical  challenges, could prove to be helpful to children and teens in more than just fitness. Scientists and education institutions are also recognising the significance of cognitive training for children.

Gamified cognitive exercises are being utilised to help children pay attention better, process information quicker, improve memory, remain calm under pressure, and become more cognitively flexible and develop their ability to shift their attention effectively.

A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology found cognitive training effective for reducing symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder among children, as well as improving their future educational, interpersonal, and occupational outcomes.

The education system will have to overcome the new PE needs for their pupils to ensure their health and safety. Luckily, the sports tech industry is finding ways to solve this issue, and provide even more suitable physical education solutions than school’s used before.

Simon Jacobs biography

With over 20 years of experience in the sports and fitness industry, on top of his B.Ed. in Physical Education, Simon is a certified personal trainer, fitness presenter, and a certified sports coach.

Simon lectures on workout systems, training high-end clients, and has headed coaching teams at an international level in a variety of sports projects, such as developing the AFL Peace team.

His passion for the world of fitness and sports is driven by the satisfaction he gets from seeing clients and athletes reaching their goals and challenging their limits. Simon is confident that BlazePod’s FRX training method is one of these positive game changers.

You might also like: New Sport England video platform set to revolutionise school PE experience for teen girls

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