9.11.12

Rise of the Exergame!

Who remembers when dance mats hit arcades?! I was one of many kids keen to spend my money playing tis game and trying to show off some skills ;) Today, these types of games have come as far as our very own living rooms; in my case, in the form of a Wii.

I bought my Wii console because I wanted the Wii fit game and the Wii fit board so I needed the Wii. Such games have now become known as 'exergames'; computer games which use your body and movement to control what goes on. Since buying my Wii, I added Zumba Fit, Mario Kart, Wii Sports, Just Dance and Zumba Fit 2 to my collection. The problem is, if I'm honest, that's exactly what they are! A collection...gathering dust in my living room. After the novelty wore off of the chick on YouTube hula hooping in her knickers, I became less interested and inspired by these games. The only ones that actually work me to a level that I would deem exercise are Zumba Fit 1 and 2.

This month though, saw the launch of Nike+ Training for the Xbox Kinect. I'm intrigued to try it but I unfortunately don't have an Xbox at this moment in time. But my real interest is in whether or not these exergames actually provide any significant benefits to our health and fitness...here is the evidence that has been found...

Summary (The British Heart Foundation, 2012)

x Most exergames are considered to be a light-to-  
moderate intensity activity for both adults and  
children. In older adults, most games are likely to  
be a light intensity activity.

x  Exergames provide an alternative to sedentary  
behaviours, but they only contribute a small amount  
to daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

x  More high quality research is needed to assess  
exergaming’s potential for providing long term  
changes to levels of physical activity and sedentary  
behaviour.

x  When designing interventions that incorporate  
exergaming, guidelines on frequency and duration  
of usage should be given to participants.  

At the end of the day, I'd say don't give up your gym membership just yet! But these are definitely great options to keep family, friends and kids active and entertained at home!

Elle :)

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