Exergaming: Gateway to Greater Physical Activity?

01/02/2011 at 10:54 AM Leave a comment

According to Wikipedia – Exergaming (a combination of “exercise” and “gaming”) is a term used for video games that also provide exercise. Exergames have one element of exercise and one element of gaming.

exergamingI wrote about my views on Wii Fit and Exergaming back in Feb. 2009 in an attempt to express how I saw exergaming being used and answering the question of whether or not I saw it as a threat to the health and fitness industry. In this post, however, I just want to support a statement that fitness technology specialist, Biray Alsac made in her post EA Sports Active Uses the term “Gateway”. In it she states that exergames have a “gateway effect to an active lifestyle.”

Many see the pre-occupation with video games as a major contributor to the youth obesity epidemic (myself included).  But, if those games have a physical challenge, is there harm in letting our kids play them? If we can coax those inactive kids (or adults) into becoming more active with Dance, Dance, Revolution, WII Sports, etc.  Shouldn’t we support it?

What got me thinking about this again was when our boys got the  WII Just Dance 2 game for Christmas. They worked up a real sweat, competed against each other for high score, and had a ball. I love to watch them play it and, yes, I had fun with it too.

Now imagine someone that doesn’t get regular physical activity gets involved in exergaming. They start to feel (and possibly see) the effects of the activity, and start to have greater confidence in their ability to move. Maybe this will make them feel like they can do more, participate in more “real-life” activities. Maybe, indeed, exergaming IS a gateway to a more active lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

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Entry filed under: Children, Fitness. Tags: , , , , , .

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