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Austrian students keep fit with classroom bikes

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Read and Ride
13:12 CET+01:00
Exercise bikes placed at the back of classrooms are helping school pupils in Austria keep fit while studying.

Around 200 pupils at a school on Dietrichgasse in Vienna’s Landstraße district have adopted the concept of ‘learning while moving’ by riding exercise bikes at the back of the classroom.

Students and teachers told the Austrian broadcaster ORF that as well as keeping them fit, the exercise helps improve concentration in the class.

“I don’t fall asleep and I don’t become tired,” one student said.

Another added: “It is a lot of fun and it perks you up if you are cycling in the morning.”

“We know it helps concentration,” explains teacher Karin Rohrer-Blaschke. “It works beautifully. The pupils can also write, read, and do everything else at the same time as riding the machine.”

The pupils change places every thirty minutes so all the students get a chance to exercise.

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Some form of ‘moving while learning’ has been adopted in more than 200 Vienna school classes since 2000. The Dietrichgasse school had to fund its own exercise bikes and was supported by the district, parent organisations, and sponsors.

Other countries have also adopted the concept. In the United States the Read and Ride programme, which started in a primary school in North Carolina in 2009, now funds exercise bikes in over 30 schools.

One study carried out by a school using their programme found students who spent the most time on the bikes achieved 83 percent proficiency in reading, compared to 41 percent for those who spent the least amount of time exercising in class.

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