January 17, 2017 7:34 pm
Updated: January 18, 2017 7:15 am

Saskatoon teachers use stationary bikes to help students concentrate

WATCH: Conventional wisdom may tell you that for students to be successful they should focus on one task at a time, but teachers in a Saskatoon school believe their students concentrate better when doing two things at once. Joel Senick reports.

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Several Saskatoon public school classrooms now feature exercise bikes in an effort to help students focus more on their work while undergoing physical activity.

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Ten exercise bikes outfitted with a desktop latched to its handles were placed in classrooms at Hugh Cairns School in December. Physical education teacher Daryl Lesyshyn said he first heard of bikes being used in classrooms two years ago and decided last summer that they would work well at Hugh Cairns.

“[During] Saskatoon winters, we can’t do any biking outside, but if we can do some biking indoors, obviously there was benefits,” Lesyshyn said.

“Some students may have the fidgets and they may be able to work better and focus better while they’re on the bike.”

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During last fall and winter Lesyshyn organized fundraising, sought out grants and received private donations for the bikes, which cost $750 each. The equipment was installed at Hugh Cairns and three other Saskatoon public schools.

Kevin Nelson, a Grade 3 teacher at Hugh Cairns, said the bikes have benefited students who have trouble concentrating while sitting in a regular desk.

“Their listening was a lot more, they’re more attentive, they were more focused in their learning,” Nelson said.

“I think personally every classroom should have one.”

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Students in Nelson’s class freely use the bike whenever they feel they need to “regulate their body.” Drake Jordan is one of Nelson’s students; he said he uses the bike multiple times a week while completing his schoolwork.

“Sometimes when you’re in a regular desk, it gets a bit cramped,” Jordan said.

“The pedalling motion helps calm your body because you might have a little bit of extra energy.”

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Lesyshyn said it would “be wonderful” if more bikes find their way into Saskatoon classrooms over the coming months.

“I am not stopping promoting the bikes,” Lesyshyn said.

“I am just going to keep hopefully spreading the word and more and more schools will become a part of this initiative.”

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