Top 5 Tools to promote exercise through video games Rosemary Ehlers
Digital entertainment continues to lure us into a sedentary lifestyle on the couch, even as America struggles with obesity. Does exercise and a healthy lifestyle necessarily mean we must sacrifice some part of our technological experience for a few dreary hours at the gym? I think not. Here are five ways to incorporate physicality into the digital lifestyle you love.
Wii Fit combines tools for tracking your body's BMI and performance at various health exercises with games designed to improve your balance, aerobic ability, muscle tone, strength, etc. - presents exercise to users in a form with which they are familiar, comfortable , and even enthusiastic about - eliminates the need for users to attend a gym or work around gym or program hours - gives privacy to those who dislike gyms and other group programs because they are self-con cious about their weight
Wii Sports Resort turns your living room into a lake, tennis court, arena, and much more to enable a number of sports activities. While Wii Sports Resort is perhaps less of a workout than Wii Fit, it also appeals to a broader audience by being more fun. Still, it gets you up off your seat and moving, which is a great deal more than most video games. Perhaps it will even inspire you to take actual lessons in the activities it allows you to play.
The Dance Pad was first popularized by the game Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), and is controlled by players standing on it and moving their feet to press the four arrows laid out on the pad. It is mostly used in dance games. It is obviously physical -you use your feet to control it! Anyone who has played a game of DDR can tell you it is truly a workout . The scope of the Dance Pad is a little narrow -so far it is really only useful for dance games. But it can be played either solo or with a group , so if you're having trouble getting into the groove, try inviting some friends to join you!
The Game Bike is designed to plug into any game console, and give users an innovative new way of controlling their movement within the game that is both good exercise and a more immersive experience. The best thing about the Game Bike is that it effortlessly integrates physical exercise into a game -instead of building a game around exercise. Users can play the games they already know and love . The use of the entire body also gives the user a more immersive experience in the game.
Game Runner works on a similar principle as the Game Bike -it encourages exercise by offering the users a fuller experience of the game than they could get with a regular controller. It has various fitness level settings , so that you can get through a game at whatever speed is comfortable for you. Game Runner is compatible with nearly every game available, and has a very short learning curve -it's easier to learn to use the Game Runner than it is to use a joystick!
The most important thing to understand is: Video games and exercise are not mutually exclusive. Video games themselves are designed to get users coming back again and again -it is easy to form a gaming habit . If we therefore can attach exercise to gaming in a way that enhances the user's experience instead of detracting from it, forming a habit of exercise is exponentially easier. Video games and digital entertainment are often accused of being addictive . Instead of demonizing them, let's use their power to change people's lifestyles in good ways .