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      New tool for better health at FMHS

      These days we've all heard about how classrooms are adding technology to engage students in the learning process.

      But technology is also making changes in physical education classes as well.

      New digital heart rate monitors are helping the students of Fort Madison High School get a better understanding of their own health says P.E. teacher Todd Huckabone.

      "The heart rate monitors are something the the kids can have a visual on to check and see where their heart rate is after a certain amount of exercise time," Huckabone said.

      The wristwatch style digital monitors are easy for the kids to use and understand.

      We asked Huckabone to explain how they work.

      "We will set an amount of time for the kids that they actually have to go and run and jog for that day and when they get done they'll actually put their finger on this little button right here and they'll hold it down, and it will actually show a little heart beat," Huckabone said. "And they'll keep their finger on there until their number pops up. And that's basically their heart rate."

      The school was able to get the heart rate monitors with the help of Jane Wentzien the director of the physical therapy department at Fort Madison Community Hospital .

      "We like to do as part of our mission at the hospital something for the community as far as education and community service," Wentzien said. "So we felt like this was in line with our mission for the hospital."

      As a physical therapist Jane Wentzien says it's important for kids to know how to judge their own health. But as a parent of a high school student, she also appreciates how these monitors help her to encourage her kids to stay active.

      "It's something that's hard to talk about at home sometimes," Wentzien said. "People don't want to hear get off the couch, put your video game down. And so having it done at school is helpful for me as a parent. And then I can just reinforce it."

      P.E. Teacher Todd Huckabone says that long term his goal with the monitors is to instill a life long habit into these kids.

      "Hopefully this something they will carry on past high school," Huckabone said. "And they'll actually incorporate this into their lifestyle from the standpoint that it's important to be physically active and to be in the best physical shape that you possibly can because that's gonna help you live longer in the end."

      The total cost of the heart rate monitors was about $600.

      Fort Madison Community Hospital picked up the entire tab.