Video Games and Exercise

This past Winter Break, I was over at my cousin’s home. I knew that she had recently purchased a Wii, and I was excited to try it out. One of the games we played that day was Wii Fit. I was surprised at how well physical fitness was incorporated into a video game. Before I could start playing, my center of balance and body mass index was calculated. Additionally, Wii Fit kept track of the number of calories I burned during each of the mini-games included.

As technology gets more and more advanced, motion-detecting hardware seems to be a focus in game consoles. This current generation of systems – the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii – all have some sort of motion-detecting ability, from the Xbox Kinect to the PS3 Move. Could this type of technology allow people to exercise more efficiently because they’re having fun at the same time? A common complaint that many adults have is the lack of exercise by their children. They seem to spend more of their days inside by watching TV, using the computer, or doing homework. I decided to find out how effective exercise from video games could be. I thought to myself, maybe they could even be incorporated into gym classes in the near future.

Currently, a $2.5 million research project is taking place in Rhode Island that compares playing physical video games to going to the gym. Recent research shows that an intense session of video game exercise can offer the same benefits as other physical activity. Additionally, playing movement based video games are considered more fun than traditional workouts, so perhaps participants would even exercise more. More information can be found at: Thebostonchannel.com/r/30244563/detail.html

Recently, video game exercises have also been incorporated into the classroom, specifically at Conlee Elementary School. As the Wii Fit was incorporated into the regimen, tardiness went down. The kids were excited to be playing a game and didn’t even realize they were really exercising at the same time. More information can be found at: Usatoday.com/yourlife/fitness/2010-10-11-justdance11_cv_n.htm I feel that physical video games will continue to get more attention as their benefits are shown through research. They can be a great tool to get kids and adults to exercise more while also having fun.

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