The studies are pouring in about so-called “exergames” which promote physical activity, and unfortunately the impact has been viewed negatively. As a nerd and a gamer, I can sometimes see why. The exergames that are currently on the market have been little more than more interactive exercise videos that use the motion controls as a gimmick; and sometimes, they do it poorly.
“What do you mean my motions have to be more exaggerated?!”
I don’t hold that against them, I have played video games long enough to know that new technology takes time to incorporate properly. (I’m still waiting for 3D to be implemented in a way that enhances rather than detracts from the experience)
However, it may help those leading more of a sedentary lifestyle (E.G. me) to become more active:
[exergames] are not nearly as good as what she calls “real-life exercise.”
“For those not engaging in real-life exercise, this may be a good step toward this,” said Peng, an assistant professor of telecommunication, information studies and media. “Eventually the goal is to help them get somewhat active and maybe move to real-life exercise.”
The only problem I see with this study is that they are basing this study on the hope that exergames are a stepping stone to real life exercise. That could be good, but, personally, I think exergames could evolve in a way that makes exercising more fun, and therefore it could become a reliable source of fitness.
Like I said, the games I see happen to be little more than exercise videos that can track your progress better, but the ‘game’ side of exergames needs to be addressed. If they can work towards making these games more oriented towards different genres of games, it could definitely grow in popularity and effectiveness.
Creating a game that is fun, challenging, more social, and with an actual storyline could be just what the doctor ordered to get us sedentary beings up and moving.
Maybe incorporating a social network like Fitocracy into the games where you’re allowed to ‘duel’ other players and compete in challenges in a way that’s easily tracked and unable to be cheated. That could draw in a lot of people, as gamers in general, tend to be more competitive.
Right now they’ve found success by giving people more options than they might not have had previously:
Peng said exergames also have proven to be useful when used in structured exercise programs, such as those used for rehabilitation or in senior citizen centers.
“Just giving the games to people may not be a good approach,” Peng said. “They may not use it or use it effectively. It’s better if used in a structured program where there are more people participating.”
More people participating? There are a lot of people on the internet, that’s where all my friends are spending their time nowadays.
In the end, I’m excited to see how these games evolve.