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A Comprehensive Exploration into Utilizing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in Physical Education Classes

Resa M. Chandler and Amy J. Stringer

joperd cover january 2020

Increased screen time and decreasing physical activity are both commonly expressed phrases iterated when physical educators and their advocates make a case for physical education (PE) in the United States (U.S.). Often this argument is used when there is a threat to reduce PE time in local school districts, and PE is found once again on the chopping block, forced to defend its place in the U.S. educational system. The Surgeon General’s 60 minutes of physical activity (PA) per day (Strong et al., 2005) is the gold standard for today’s youth, a recommendation known for its ability to positively influence overall health. A PE class is one avenue to attain this 60-minute goal both in actuality and in providing the skills and knowledge base for children to explore PA outside of the school setting.

Sixty minutes of PA may at times seem ominous to a child. Also, the quality of this general notion of “activity” is wildly vague with no standard for intensity or skilled movement. It is not uncommon for school administrators to encourage students to walk around the parking lot after lunch just to say that they were doing their part in contributing to the requirement.

As physical educators we can do better than laps around the perimeter of the school parking lot! One option for enhancing PA with children is participating in high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of workout may be a great way to increase the vigorous portion of daily PA in a PE class and actually enhance some aspects of participants’ health-related fitness.

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