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.

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