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12-Minute Fitness Run/Walk

This is an excerpt from Teaching Healthy Lifestyles in Middle School PE by Crystal Gorwitz.

12-Minute Fitness Run/Walk


  • Cones
  • Heart rate monitors
  • Pedometers


1. Use cones to set up a run/walk course in a large space (indoor or outdoor). The specific course layout depends on the area in which you are teaching. If you are teaching outside, the course should be on a flat surface and form the shape of a square (not too big because you need to be able to see the students and talk with them). If you are teaching in a gymnasium, the course should be the size of a regulation basketball court. I suggest that you put on a monitor and walk fast to see how many laps you do in 12 minutes.

2. Before class starts, make a list of pairs for your students to work in. One student in each pair wears a heart rate monitor; the other wears a pedometer. If you have an odd number of students, you can either act as the coach and motivator for one student or arrange one group of three, in which two students wear a heart rate monitor.


1. Give the students wearing a heart rate monitor some time to get their heart rate up into their target heart rate zone. Meanwhile, have the students wearing pedometers do some stretching and show you that their pedometer reading is zero.

2. When the students wearing a monitor have their heart rates in their target heart rate zone, start the stopwatch and have the students wearing pedometers join in the activity. The students wearing a monitor run clockwise outside the cones. The students wearing a pedometer run counterclockwise inside the cones. Everyone works out for 12 minutes. (You can vary the time depending on the length of your class period.)

3. The students wearing pedometers act as coaches and motivators for their partners wearing heart rate monitors. The coaches cheer on their partners and encourage them every step of the way. They can ask their partners what their heart rates are and how they are feeling. If a partner's heart rate is on the low end of the target heart rate zone, the coach can give him or her tips for moving faster; on the other hand, if the heart rate is too high, the coach can help the partner by telling him or her to slow down a little. It is amazing how much cheering students do during this activity! It is really fun to see how concerned the students are about their partners and what tools they use to motivate them!

4. On the second day, have the partners switch roles and repeat the activity.

5. Base the students' grades on how long they stay in their target heart rate zone. You can also set a step count goal for them to achieve during this activity and grade them based on their pedometer step count. I have set step count goals by walking the course as fast as I can for 12 minutes and using my step count as the step count goal for the class.

Read more about Teaching Healthy Lifestyles in Middle School PE by Crystal Gorwitz.