Saturday, February 23

Professional Sports and Government Back Active Gaming

Fitness Technology for Motivating Everyone

Activing gaming, known as exergaming in the US, has been an element in many "exertainment" gyms across the world. These gyms, designed to use technology to engage children in physical activities, have proved very successful due to the variety of activities on offer. There are virtual full body motion games, highly entertaining sport walls and a host of other entertaining exercise machines. Now the racing game bikes and dance mat exergaming machines can be joined by Gamercize.

This week saw the launch of the Gamercize Gym Pod, backed by the Active Southampton partnership and Southampton Football Club. Gamercize products work with all games and video game consoles, pausing the game if exercise is stopped. The launch and installations are unique for the credibility of exergaming, because the motivation behind the partnership is purely promoting physical activity and attracting the younger generation into the leisure and sports centres.
Nathan Dyer jumped on for his first look and was soon keen to help introduce the technology to the PlayStation generation. The Gamercize Gym Pod is capable of running any title, but was set up running soccer game FIFA 08. Nathan plays football for Southampton FC, known locally as the Saints, but did not play for his own side that day. When it was his turn on the Gym Pod, Nathan took over from the previous player who was using a local rival team - Portsmouth. Undaunted, Nathan hammered in goals to leave the scoreline 5 - 1 to Pompey at the end of the game, much to the amusement of the BBC and newspaper reporters! You can watch the video here.

The Gamercize Gym Pod has been installed in two local government run facilities, the Xbox 360 version is in Chamberlayne Leisure Centre and the PlayStation 3 equipped version in St Mary's Sports Centre.
The Nintendo Wii has already been used by the centres, mainly in the half term play scheme. You can see the kids having fun here with a big bag of Wii games under the desk!
The Gamercize Gym Pod is used in the fitness room with the other cardio machines during the school term, but taken out and taken over by the kids during the holidays. The games played vary depending on the time of day, making sure kids have suitable rated games and adults get to play the games they want. The centres can also be sure that Gamercize will never lose it's attraction, because new PS3 and Xbox 360 games will always generate interest.
The fitness facilities available to a lot of people are outstanding, but equally as unknown. The appeal of Gamercize will bring people into the centres that would not normally go there. Given an introduction into fitness as fun, I hope they'll stay and try out the other activities. Just imagine, the next time there is a huge title being released, like Halo 3 mania, there will be lines of customers not only outside shops, but also outside your local gym!

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