“Exergaming” is the latest fad to hit the fitness industry. A great way for those individuals who would otherwise be sedentary. Exergaming can be a great way to burn calories, be healthier, and have fun! With over two thirds of adults in the US being overweight and one third considered obese (BMI >25) along with 16% of children between 6-11 and over 15%of adolescents (12-19) any activity is a step in the right direction.
Video games that incorporate exercise such as Nintendo’s WII, Dance Dance Revolution, Entainer, and more their popularity continues to rise. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 2007 found that obese kids burned six times as many calories playing Dance Dance Revolution than they did when playing traditional video games. Another 2007 study showed that college students burned twice as many calories playing video games as they did walking on a treadmill.
Due to the interest in video games, even gyms are incorporating video games with some of their classes and exercise equipment. With high tech bikes that allow it’s user to race as through they were competing in the Tour de France, treadmills that allow you to race against virtual runners, one can not escape the craze of exergaming. That being said, I feel it is my responsibility as a certified fitness instructor t discuss the benefits and disadvantages of using video games as one’s main exercise form.
The Nintendo WII is the fastest growing game system that incorporates physical activity with video games. With games ranging from Mario Cart to bowling to baseball, this system gets its user off the couch and at least standing (which burns more calories then sitting) and depending on the game one can be moderately active to very active. The WII even has a WII fitness system that allows it’s users to input data such as: age, weight, height, fitness goals, etc. It will determine your body mass index (BMI) as well as track your fitness progress. THE WII fitness has games that focus on strength, flexibility, Yoga, and cardiovascular. While this game can be beneficial, its downfall is with e knowing whether or not an individual has proper form (the platform helps read weight distribution, but can not different if someone is doing the exercise properly). The virtual trainer will help with cues and this will be good for beginners, children, and the elderly. However, I feel that the more advanced trainee will become bored and not want to use it. One needs to take into the cost of not only the WII but the particular fitness game as well along with making sure they have enough room in their home to play the games.
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