by: Fatima Ramirez
Take a moment to think: When was the first time you saw a Dance Dance Revolution Machine? At the mall? At your local arcade? Somewhere in a movie? Maybe you know someone that owned the game, or you had a similar one called the “Power Pad” for your Nintendo Entertainment System. What if I told you that plastic mat or that bulky electronic dance floor will impact the future of technology and fitness?
Flash forward to the future when you heard squeals of excitement as you or a loved one tears open that holiday wrapping paper to reveal a white box labeled “Nintendo Wii”. You can probably say the same thing about the XBOX Kinect or any other gaming system in the present day. Did you noticed that more companies are incorporating movement within their systems? In this article we will go over the Pros and Cons of today’s technology and how it will impact exercise.
EXERGAMING – WHAT IS IT?
So, what is this kind of exercise? The Home Fit Freak (2020) states that “Exergaming is what you get when you cross exercise with video gaming (exergaming is sometimes also called ‘gamercising’). Exergames are video games, usually played on consoles like Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation, in which the aim is to move your body (exergames are also known as ‘active-play video games’). In fact, you can’t progress or win the game without being physically active.” Basically, when you are working out with any kind of fitness related activity on the screen, you won’t be able to progress much unless you put effort into it.
EXAMPLES OF SYSTEMS + GAMES
- NINTENDO Wii/Wii U: Wii Fit + Wii Fit Plus Franchise, Zumba Fitness, EA Sports Active, Wii Sports, Just Dance Franchise (All/Some games utilizes Wii Remotes, Nunchucks, and/or Fitness Board)
- XBOX 360/One: KINECT Games such as Sports and Adventure, Just Dance, UCF Personal Trainer, Fruit Ninja, and Biggest Loser (Utilizes the XBOX Kinect which detects and copies movement)
- PLAYSTATION 3/4: BOXVR, Move Fitness, Just Dance, American Ninja Warrior, Sprint Vector (A majority of these require a VR set, but also PS3/4 games utilizes Playstation MOVE, the PS2 Model requires an EyeToy which is similar to the Kinect)
- NINTENDO SWITCH: Ring Fit Adventure, Fitness Boxing, Just Dance, Arms, Mario Tennis, Sports Party, Zumba: Burn it up (Utilizes the detachable controllers on the Switch. For the Ring Fit Adventure, it requires the provided Fitness Ring)
A TECHNICAL FUTURE IN EXERCISE
When it comes to fitness games there are some benefits to them. One example is that there is so much variety. Certain games can provide different workouts and have their intensities set up. This can be for just doing tai chi to just be running using the Wii Remote for 30 minutes. Another benefit is that it can help those who lack physical activity or are currently recovering from an injury. According to Home Fit Freak, there are studies showing that older adults who played Wii for an extended period showed improvements in physical functions, motor skills, and cognitive skills. Overall it is a very fun way to do physical activity.
IT’S ALL FUN AND GAMES…UNTIL YOU SEE THE CONS
While playing games while working out may seem beneficial, there are some cons that go along with it. For example, on most of the games, studies found Wii Sports to be more light intensity rather than moderate. A study performed by O’Donovan and Hussey (2019) showed that the Wii Sport Franchise was mainly light since most of the actions are utilizing the arms by just swinging them. However, Wii Boxing is shown to show moderate intensity. This is mainly because you are thrusting your arms at a greater intensity. Unfortunately, some of the games tend to focus on light intensities. Another con to this is that it does require you to purchase that device and game in order to see the actual benefits. Depending on the stores and systems, those can range from $90-$500 and with the games $10-$60. It could be very inconvenient if you don’t have any of those unless you can borrow one from a friend. The final con will be that it can be sedentary when you make it so. From personal experience, I have been guilty of doing some exercises while sitting down or playing tennis without getting active. It’s mainly because we tend to find “alternatives” to how we play these types of activities. However, we can still become active on them if we put effort