Friday, October 26

Advanced Deskercise for Workers

Lunchtime Exercise Without the Rain
There have been a few stories in the news about fitness at work recently. Latest advice calls for an exercise hour for all workers.

The advice by experts is often seen as enforcement or unhelpful, but it is not intended to be. The main theme of all the advice is a well meaning message for everyone to get some extra exercise, it's good for you. The struggle is putting the message across in a meaningful way we can all relate to and apply to our own lives, if we choose.

An exercise hour is normally quite easy at work, at lunchtime go out for a walk or play a game of squash or football. It is often easier to arrange sporting activity in your free daylight hour with co-workers, than after a hard days work with chores, family responsibilities and dark evenings.

These pictures show what we have been doing to get more exercise. Typically we spend a lot of time sat at a computer. Working mostly, but some times browsing the web, playing games or posting to blogs. The interesting and enjoyable uses of our computers makes the time fly by. Lunch hours always seem so short, and an hour in the afternoon drags on. If we decide to have an exercise hour, then which hour is it best to use for exercise? The one that flies by is the smart choice, so you don't notice the effort.

The step exercise machine under the desk works well for the cold, rainy weather that is fast approaching. A far better choice than an under desk mini cycle, which tends to be very hard to use with wheeled chairs or low desks! Gamercize lends a hand, when switched into trainer mode, the input to the computer is paused if you stop moving. This is useful when you consider using the computer for enjoyable purposes will take you mind off exercise, and in fact so much so that most people forget to exercise!

As you are sitting there, browsing the web during your lunch hour reading this post, think about how much exercise you get at weekends. Then think about how much exercise you get during the working week. Chances are, if you work in an office, there is a bit more you can do, and maybe an exercise hour might be worth a try for a few weeks?

Monday, October 22

Add This

Share your Blog with the world using just one control
This fantastic little bookmarking and sharing drop down control at the bottom the post is free! It saves a lot of time and effort, instead of adding many different bookmark code snippets, just use one. Compatible with many blog engines, all the popular social bookmarking and sharing sites, AddThis provides stats and looks clean and tidy.

Blogging and the BBC Editors

Blogging at Work

I am taking the rare step of writing a post at work today, to highlight an interesting use of blogs. Normally I'll put up a weekend post or two sharing some information or picture that I find interesting to me. I see it is a personal choice to post; there are no revenue generating adverts and this blog does not generate personal income.

Other blogs have no revenue generation, the best example being the blog of the BBC Editors. In contrast, it does appear the editors have blogging as an unwritten task within their job descriptions. A post from Peter Barron, indicating peer pressure to write posts, asks what frequency of posting is perceived as reasonable. Clearly the number of posts per week has not been written into the contracts yet!

Personally I think a post "only every ten days or so" is probably about right, maybe once a week. I am lucky though, as I am writing for pleasure and not from pressure.

Saturday, October 20

Leisure Industry Week 2007

Gamercize at LIW

Did you see Gamercize at the Birmingham NEC last month? No? I am not surprised, the show was very busy as you can see from the picture! Gamercize was exhibited connected to a junior cycle and a junior stepper, as a two player combination.

This proved a popular setup with visitors starting up fit kids clubs in locations all over Europe. Organisations planning to get kids fit with video games were diverse, a new theme park in the Netherlands, a Premiership Football Club in England, a Local Education Authority in Wales and a health club chain from Spain were most notable.

A common misconception from the show visitors was how the interaction worked. Unlike other exergame equipment, Gamercize does not interfere with the game play. Ok, if you stop exercising the games pauses, but that is less of interference and more prompting. Without this interaction there would be no incentive to exercise. All of the kids (and some of the adults!) were able to keep the game going without any trouble. The skill needed to play the game is not hampered by physical ability or co-ordination. When visitors had this explained, the proverbial penny dropped.

Some direct control equipment was on show, although a poor choice of game did not show its potential to the full. That is a pity because for 100% racing addicts, the equipment is very good. A word of warning from the "Stinger", of The Stinger Report fame, was that heart rates should be monitored on exergames that require effort for progress, especially for children, to avoid health risks. A very good point from a very knowledgeable individual.

Nintendo Wii was on show too, which was good to see but a warning from a school who purchased a number of them was quite revealing. They had found kids started to play the games by sitting down and flicking the wand with small hand movements. Clearly this is not in the spirit the console should be used. A few of the wands have since gone missing too. Wii Fit will probably be a better alternative for exercise on the Wii.

We left our second LIW very happy with the progress in attitudes to exergames and it was great to meet up again with the good people from the dedicated fitness and fun kids clubs. A few words from a very passionate and clearly dedicated Ian Wright on his inolvment and experiences with kids fitness was also very welcome. Have a good year to all exhibitors, and for sure we will all be back at the NEC again in 2008.

Saturday, October 13

Sports Training Reaches the Next Level with Gamercize

Full Size Gamercize Pro-Sport with X360 and PS3
While the domestic version of the GZ Pro-Sport (for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) has been delayed until early 2008, there is a chance for a select few to try out the next-gen HD exergaming fun. The Xbox 360 Elite and PlayStation 3 (nearest and furthest respectively in picture) bring graphics that quite literally take your breath away while you work out. If there was ever a better example of the video games capturing your attention, and distracting you from the effort of exercise, then these consoles provide it.

The first time I played an HD game, I did not even realise the game has started, I thought it was still the opening cut scene! Awesome. There is a down side as this sort of quality does not come cheap and the titles do not come out thick and fast like they used to. It is easy to see why the last gen PlayStation 2 and GameCube titles still have such a strong following. Even in the face of HD gaming competition, low-cost consoles are still in production. While the expense of the newest consoles and games remains high for most of us, the cost is minimal for commercial organisations, eager to appeal to the young generation.

Using Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, gyms and health clubs will be preparing for ladders, league tables and maybe even inter-brand competitions. Turning fitness in to a competitive sport using video games will benefit everyone, and ultimately help reverse the decline in outdoor sports and physical activity. Better still, when more gyms and fitness centers get hold of equipment like these Gamercize Pods, the myths about gamers being solitary and unhealthy will be gone for good.

Don't expect to see these changes to your local club overnight, it has only recently become socially acceptable for anyone over 25 to admit to "playing games". The huge hype and publicity of the Nintendo Wii is helping change attitudes, and the public "in-fighting" between console manufacturers has kept gaming in the news. Now the public in general is being exposed to a new form of entertainment, more and more are trying it for themselves - and they are loving it. The Wii becoming popular has a great deal to do with this, and the low console price has made the smiles wider.

There is evidence that your local club will change in the future - almost every month it is reported a new dedicated exergaming gym has opened somewhere. They are still seen as somewhat of a novelty, so it will take time for their commercial success to be noted by the big health club brands. When they do notice, it will take even more time to plan refurbishments, procure equipment, train staff, update health and safety rules, formulate marketing strategies and advertising campaigns. So keep playing games for now, exergame too if you have the kit. You are training for an emerging sport where skill and reactions will reign supreme for people of all abilities.

Monday, October 8

The W in www (20 Posts from Around the World)

Gamercize posts from around the World

In no real order, avoiding sites with pop ups where possible, selected web pages from the world containing the phrase "Gamercize".

Collated using the Advanced Search in Google, where you can choose a language or a domain, and the Google Search homepage for different countries. Browse through this list and then try a list yourself. It helps to use a brand name that stays the same worldwide, so choose a name that is not used in common language, trademarks form a useful selection.

I have no idea what some of they say, but that does not matter. The diversity in the web is awesome, and it is not often you realise the true world wide nature of it. The real fun begins when you start clicking links on pages from far away!

  1. UK

  2. Germany

  3. China

  4. USA

  5. France

  6. Israel

  7. Japan

  8. Brazil

  9. Spain

  10. Russia

  11. Vietnam

  12. Ukraine

  13. Turkey

  14. Korea

  15. Italy

  16. Poland

  17. Romania

  18. Australia

  19. Hong Kong

  20. Argentina

Saturday, October 6

Reach the Next Level

Fitness Motivation by Stealth

Everyone knows exercising leads to increased fitness and fitness leads to enjoying a more active life. That is why there are gyms, fitness centers and home gym equipment. The biggest problem in reaching that elusive next level in life is maintaining motivation. How many people have bought home gym equipment, only to leave it unused after a few weeks? How many people have bought gym membership at the start of the year and give up going by April?

Too many. Time and money wasted, not because these approaches are no good, but because the improvement is so gradual it is easy to think you are getting nowhere and just give up. It's no fun, it's tough, you don't have the time and you can't see it making any difference. Very easy to understand, most of us have been there and done it.

Just think about PlayStation and Xbox now. How many people buy these things, and make excuses not to use them? How many Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo games consoles sit unused in the garage? Here is a proven formula for motivation and fun! What a shame playing video games is no good for you compared with playing on the sports field.

Attempting to put fitness into video games is not a new idea, it's been tried as long ago as 1982 by Atari. The problem is putting fitness into games has always focused on the exercise, taking away from the game in terms of quality or control. Remember the gym vs the console? - Motivation comes from enjoyment. Putting fitness into a racing game is a fair example of what I mean. The more effort you expend the faster the car goes. Great concept, but in practice it becomes tedious compared with the temptation to change the game for the shiny new disc which arrived in the post this morning and has the internet raving about gameplay and graphics.

So can you see why Gamercize is so popular and successful for people striving to reach the next level? Reduce the interaction, so exercise can be automatic. Like walking and talking on a phone, or running while listening to an iPod, like playing football on the beach or playing in the park with the dog - it is fitness by stealth with the focus on the fun.

Now change the game with that shiny new disc that arrived in the post this morning and the motivation is boosted even further.

Exercising with this much motivation, and without a conscious effort, will take you to the next level.

Gamercize Video on YouTube