A stationary bike doesn’t move, but it sure can take you places.
Linden High School students are learning that lesson in a state-of-the-art spin studio that debuted in September just outside the main gym. So far, the reviews are positive all around.
“We hit a home run here,” said Steven Viana, the district’s director of health and physical education.”
The room is the latest alternative given to physical education students from the typical gym-class activities.
The students also have access to an expansive weight room and a multifaceted fitness room, which offers yoga, Pilates, kickboxing and other activities. Because exercise bikes are among the most popular equipment in the weight room, it seemed natural to expand the offering.
It’s a unique program that helps solve a common problem for large school districts: trying to provide the best programs with the challenge of limited spacing.
“But I don’t know another school in the area that’s doing something similar,” said Viana, who credited Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi, Business Administrator Kathleen Gaylord, Principal Yelena Horre, and the support of the Board of Education for making the project happen.”
“When we first heard this idea from Mr. Viana, we knew it was worth our time and effort to get it done,” Robertozzi said. “It’s a great way to maximize our resources while giving the students something unique and valuable. It’s a win-win.”
The spin studio consists of 26 bikes, two of which are Peloton bikes that are equipped with on-demand instruction programs with a real instructor that the user can view on a screen. The instructor gives users instructions and encouragement and keeps the workout interesting and challenging.
However, Linden High School took it a step further by taking Peloton’s instructor video and broadcasting it on a big-screen television in the front of the room so that everyone can get the full experience.
“We’re using our technology to the fullest extent.”
The Peloton experience includes 200,000 different videos to choose from, with different kinds of background music, different instructors, and different levels of difficulty and intensity.
All of the bikes allow students to track their progress with real data, including calories, cadence, and other measures, which allow students to track their progress and compare it with others.
Besides diversifying the students’ options, the spin studio and other breakout rooms serve another purpose. Each gym class has 100 to 150 students, which can complicate lesson planning. The breakout rooms give teachers the option to place 85 students in activities outside the main gym.
“That leaves 50 to 70 behind, which is a very good number to do a formal activity in the gym, whether we’re playing badminton, or floor hockey, or volleyball,” Viana said. “Whatever we’re doing, we have so much more space and the students are getting a much better class experience because we’re basically reducing the class sizes and providing more individualized instruction.
“Teachers love it because it’s so much more manageable. It’s so hard to do an organized physical activity for 150 students in one small area.”
Student rotate through different rooms every two weeks or so, so that everyone gets the chance to try different activities.
Photo caption: Students in Michael Firestone’s physical education class using the school’s spin studio.