Excitement of Exergames

January 24, 2011

Here we are, it's almost the last week of January, just when Americans are ready to give up on their New Years resolutions, and technology is here to the rescue

Here we are, it’s almost the last week of January, just when Americans are ready to give up on their New Years resolutions to improve their health, and technology is here to the rescue- thanks to exergames.  Imagine this: take one part video game, one part work out add in interactivity and you get "exergaming" which could well be one of the most effective getting in shape ideas since dancercize! Sure Jane Fonda is back with a new series of video work out tapes for seniors, but this new technology could get even more people grooving and shakin’ into great shape.  Once the exclusive accessory to kids play rooms, video game assisted workouts have moved mainstream, and into America’s living rooms.

Seniors shocked game makers by their adoption of these games, and rehab specialists and physical therapist are using exergames to help patients recover from injuries while having a ton of fun. Users find that the more enjoyable the game you choose to play, the less you notice the exercise- and there are hundreds of activities that catering to all different personalities.

Last year the American Council on Exercise named exergaming one of the top-10 fitness trends and they predicted that exergames will increasingly make their way into fitness clubs and supplement more traditional workouts.

These games have continued to evolve, and evolve with the user.  For example, the Kinect uses a depth sensor with an infrared laser to determine body position, as well as incorporating 3-D imaging and facial-recognition software.  Every time you log into Kinect, it scans your face to retrieve your profile and fitness progress; which certainly takes care of the often tedious job of recording your own progress and pushing on. Unlike conventional exercise equipment, the consoles even give you encouragement.

One of the latest evolutions of exergaming that may appeal to the more adventurous type, or those who wish to travel more, is the iFit Live technology which creates workouts powered by Google maps.  Users decide where they want to run, and the iFit turns it into a workout that's automatically uploaded to your fitness equipment. It controls the speed and incline/ resistance, of the fitness equipment to simulate the terrain and distance of the specific route. iFit also features a website and app that allows users to log diet and exercise information and it shows goals, and tracks progress.

The Lempert Report is sure that this gaming technology will continue to evolve and capture the true passion, emotion, excitement and challenges that exercising provides for many.  Exergames must continue to evolve with the user as not to become repetitive; the sheer novelty of these systems is surely driving some of their current use.