Futuristic school introduces workout pedals under student desks to fight child obesity

The primary school in Suffolk is the first in Britain to make pupils pedal under their desk in lessons to tackle child obesity.

                            Futuristic school introduces workout pedals under student desks to fight child obesity

In a bid to tackle child obesity, a school has fitted pedals under desks used by seven and eight-year-old pupils studying in the institution.

The Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft, Suffolk, is presumably the first school in the UK to introduce workout pedals that students can use while studying in classes. The children can use these devices in their classrooms, purchased at $26 a piece, to cycle as they study and clock up their cardio exercise. As children at the school work on their reading and arithmetic skills while pedaling away on the floor-mounted bikes, the school hopes the practice will help them lean towards a more active and healthy lifestyle in the future.

The effort was first launched for pupils of ages seven and eight who study in year three class, Daily Mail reports.


After recognizing that their scheme was bearing the desired results, the staff at the school on Southwell Road have decided to roll out devices to a further 330 children studying in years one to six. The futuristic school, which boasts of 430 students and is run by the Active Learning Trust Academy, is planning to extend the programme to 11 other classes and has placed an order to buy more pedals to facilitate the same.

The equipment used in these classrooms is relatively high-tech and not just mechanical, considering it records exercise time duration, calorie consumption and revolutions per minute and shows the details on a digital display.The management was able to purchase the pedals using some of the PE and sports premium funding received, along with part of the school budget for the year.

Johnny Lee, a PE co-ordinator and year three teacher, said: "I had heard of schools in America using the pedal bikes during sedentary lessons, which led to improved levels of concentration after using the equipment and increasing activity throughout the day. We call it our active classroom. The desk pedals have seen the children cycle during their English, maths, ICT and French lessons to make them fitter and increase their daily physical activity. It's had a great impact on the class, with the children wandering around no more. The behavior is better and engagement in lessons has been great – the class has been really enthusiastic and they like using the bikes."


Seven-year-old children at the school were "proud" and "excited" to try out the desk pedals for the first time. Luissa, a pupil, said: "It has made our lessons fun."

Jake, another pupil, said: "It makes you burn lots of energy and helps us concentrate."

Evie said: "It is really exciting and makes you more healthier." Whilst another called Ella said, "It stops us wandering around the classroom and helps us to lose calories."

It was the school's headteacher, Heather Madsen, who first made the decision to introduce the scheme and brought in the pedals after witnessing the same at various schools in Scandinavian countries where she previously worked.

"It has been really successful and the other children are all really looking forward to it," Madsen said. "The desk pedals have now become a habit, as the pupils are fiddling less with things on the table. No one is forced to cycle - they are doing it by themselves - and the desk pedals are brilliant for those who want to burn off more energy. We are trying to make as many opportunities as possible for the children to be more active in a classroom setting, including standing up to answer questions."