Under-the-desk bikes help students get exam fit

Under-the-desk bikes help students get exam fit

Stockport College has introduced under-the-desk cycling competitions to help students get exam fit.

Stockport College has introduced under-the-desk cycling competitions to help students get exam fit.

GCSE learners have been targeted by the initiative, which was rolled out to all staff and students this week.

Research from the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee showed exercise is linked to increased GCSE exam results*. It found an increase in performance for every extra 17 minutes boys exercised, and 12 minutes for girls in a study of 5,000 learners.

IT student Selma Al Zarrouk said: “It works your body and increases your concentration. You’re multi-tasking, which is a skill you can apply in the workplace. Also, you’re more sociable when you’re pedalling. I feel more motivated now to do more exercise.”

Learner Alex Heathcote said: “I like winning things so I’m down for competition. I’d recommend it to the other classes so they can feel the burn and take their minds of other things!”

Michael O’Hanlon, who studies IT, said: “It’s fun to do in the class. It’s just like cycling except I feel more focused on my learning.”

Student Joe Plunkett, burned 91 calories and travelled 6.1km in 20 minutes, said: “I cycle part of the way to college then catch the tram. It is like I’m exercising, but you can study at the same time. It gets my vote.”

Connor Hughes, who got the machine up to its top speed during his class, said: “I think it’ll take off like fidget spinners! The equipment is easy to use and makes you want to do more.”

Iram Ali said: “It’s fun! Not much can improve my focus, but this stops you fidgeting. I’d love to take part in a competition to beat the Networking Class in IT. Yes!”

Muhammad Timol agreed: “Exercise is stress relief, so doing this while you’re working takes your mind away from these sorts of things. You’re not worrying about exams and meeting deadlines. It’s pretty effective.”

Trafford College Group staff have also been invited to get in on the act to keep physically and mentally fit.

IT class tutor and keen cyclist, Nick Carrillo, said: “With technology like this, students have a great incentive to learn and keep fit at the same time. It’s good to see other tutors from Computing, such as Margaret Francis, come in and give it a go. We’re up for racing her class any day.”

Under-the-desk bikes have a top speed of 15 miles per hour and record kilometres travelled as well as calories burned.

They are part of a series of college group-wide initiatives this month to keep students fit and ready for their exams, which range from core sport programmes covering different subjects every six weeks to regular Zumba, basketball, football and boxercise sessions.

Sport Activator Leah Greig, who delivers a Sport England project to engage and get Stockport College students more active, said: “Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, provoking a sense of well-being. The bikes are also good for students who fidget and who are anxious or have ADHD as they have something to focus on while studying and not getting distracted.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get away from your desk when you’re studying for GCSE or A-Level exams, so we thought we’d bring the exercise to the students! Under-the-desk bikes are a really fun way of improving concentration, strengthening muscles and increasing endurance time efficiently. It also boosts skills that are transferable into the workplace.” 

Watch our video of the bikes in action here: