Personal Wellness makes underclassmen faster, stronger

A couple of years ago, Physical Education at Ames High consisted of games including flag football, speedball, dodgeball,, and badminton. However, the Physical Education program has recently taken a change. “Personal Wellness gives the students an individual assessment of their fitness level while the students learn to either maintain or improve on their health status,” said Jesse Von Behren, the Personal Wellness instructor at Ames High. According to Von Behren, this can be achieved by exercising the 5 components of physical fitness: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. One of the goals in the class is to work in the target heart zone, which is around 60-85% of the maximum heart rate, or 131-175 beats per minute. By being in the target heart zone, the students work a little harder and more efficiently than they have in previous PE classes. “Working while the heart rate is too high could lead to some damage, but being too low doesn’t work the heart too hard,” Von Behren said. In order to receive credit for the day, the students need to stay in their target heart zone for about 20 minutes per class. “One of the days, I didn’t get enough time in my target heart rate zone during that class,” sophomore Aaron Gaffney said. “I didn’t receive credit for that day and if that happened couple more times, I would’ve had to do a make up.” To get the students to achieve the goals of the 5 components of physical fitness and the time in the target heart zone, Personal Wellness gives the students a harder workout than before. Some of the activities went from students standing around and watching the “PE All-Stars” (students who dominate in games like speedball and flag football) in team-oriented games, to working on proper techniques of lifting weights, muscle training, and proper warm-up and cool-down. Although there are some students who dislike the new Personal Wellness program, this class may be beneficial for the future of the health of the teens.