Wednesday, March 26

Office Desk Exercise in Practice

Energise your Workplace

One Gamercize product doesn’t involve games at all, the GZ PC-Sport is an under desk exercise stepper that connects to a PC keyboard or mouse. The patented Gamercize technology is still there, requiring exercise to keep the input device working and pausing the input as a gentle reminder to keep moving if you stop.

Taking the lead from a surprisingly large number of our corporate customers and the responsibility to provide corporate wellness, I decided to roll them out to everyone in the office. To start with I asked everyone to try it for one week. After that week they had to decide if they wanted to keep it or give it back.

The thought of getting exercise at work appealed to some as a great time saver but for others it looked like it would be too hard to do. Everyone found a time or a task that suited them to exercise at work. At the end of the week, not one person took the option of having the exercise equipment removed from under their desk. Convenience was key, the option to exercise is right at your feet the whole time!

With the first week hurdle overcome, the real test would be the three month mark. Why three? It’s the limit for most people before they hide away regular fitness equipment never to be used again or give up the gym from a resolute January start. The gaming versions of Gamercize easily pass the three month test and well beyond, but would the same be true for the PC version?

We didn’t quite make 100%, as one person decided to give it a miss after a few weeks. But for everyone else, three months on, they’re all still using it, including me. From my observation everyone seems to be working better than before and there has been a noticeable drop in the number of days off sick. Things have really started buzzing around here, there’s definitely more energy around the place, every one's happier and the work is getting done faster!

I would recommend making your office and active office. The benefits to everyone are obviously visible. There are other options for an active office other than using Gamercize, but they come with some warnings to other office bosses; setting up a multitude of cardio machines in a dedicated office gym is very expensive and off-site activities can see lunch hours taking much more than the single hour. Whilst helping the wellness of your employees, you should factor in these costs if choosing a solution other than the Gamercize PC-Sport.

Saturday, March 22

Workout with the Wii Virtual Console

Exercise is in every aspect of the Wii

With Gamercize for the Wii you can not only play your GameCube discs with exercise but also you can play great classic games.

I think the single biggest selling point of the Wii is it's respect of the Nintendo heritage, and the support is spelt out clearly with the Wii's Virtual Console. The Xbox 360 gave little regard to the original Xbox, but that was not so much of a problem as Microsoft had not been around in gaming long enough for people to have made a serious investment in games and accessories. The PlayStation 3, in Europe, really did drop the poor PS2 on it's head supporting very little in terms of hardware and games. Surprising when you consider the PS2 itself supported the original PlayStation well.

Nintendo support by the Wii is brilliant. GameCube games slot straight in and with the Virtual Console the classics most notably from the N64 and SNES. These games were designed when graphics capabilities were much more limited and the key for success was actual gameplay.

So how do you get a workout from the Virtual Console? They key is the compatibility with the Nintendo GameCube Controller.

You get a nice white controller with the GZ Pro-Sport for Wii package, so you are ready to go from the start.

When you look for games on the Virtual Console, look for the GameCube controller symbol and before long you can be playing Pokemon Snap, The Legend of Zelda or Mario Kart 64 at over 600 calories an hour!

You can of course use the controller for playing all the GameCube games you have either got hidden away in a cupboard or have recently purchased under new Wii/GameCube packaging.

Wednesday, March 19

Active School Sports Competition

Video games get active and so do the kids

Repeat after me "Active games don't replace physical education". Write that out 100 times and you won't make the easiest mistake of active gaming. It's so easy to get kids involved with active gaming, even easier with Gamercize equipment, but use it as an extra and give children more opportunities to be active instead of replacing the ones they already have.

A really fun way of getting the whole class involved is to set up a competition. Remember that Gamercize is a level playing field because it lets the game work so long as you are exercising; so there's no penalty if you are not the fastest or strongest. As the exercise is secondary to the game you won't have to keep motivating the kids either, the game play will do that.

Here's how you set it all up. Split the class into four teams, and have a ratio of about 3 kids for each exercise place. Using four player games helps cut down the number of video game consoles needed, but two player games are just fine.

The important bit is to let the kids choose the games themselves. It is this that will give them the most enjoyment and keeps things varied. Keep any eye on the age ratings but as any game will work with Gamercize equipment that's just one thing to check out.

Give each team a color or a name, and a captain. Let each team play each other while teammates watch on and support. With four player games score each of the wins as 4 points, second 3 and so on down to 1 point for fourth place.

Straight away you will see the kids that normally do well at sport no longer have an advantage, but everyone is getting active and working hard!

Girls also get the level playing field with boys as physical fitness and strength alone will not win the points.

At the end of the session add up the scores and you'll have a winner, in the event of a tie the captains can compete in a play-off.

For extra variety you can not only score the gaming, but the exercise as well by adding up the totals from the calorie counters after each play! It's not major league yet, but with the addition of fitness to video games it does count more towards being real sport; but don't get caught up in the kids enthusiasm - "Active games don't replace physical education"!

Friday, March 14

Free Fitness Training at Gamercize Gyms

Run for charity and qualify for the free offer

Southampton City Council's Leisure Centres support the Active Southampton drive in getting the people of Southampton more physically active. As part of this campaign, the Council's Leisure Centres are offering all registered participants in the Sport Relief Mile event in Southampton, an opportunity to prepare and train for the event in their fitness facilities with a free fitness suite induction and fitness suite session offer.

Sport Relief brings together the worlds of sport and entertainment, so what better way to get ready for the fundraising than taking up this offer and being able to experience the Gamercize Gym Pods that also bring together the worlds of sport and entertainment!

The Sport Relief Mile is at the heart of the fundraising activities which help vulnerable people in both the UK and the world's poorest countries. All you have to do is bring your Sport Relief registration forms to one of the Leisure Centres named below to book your free induction or attend your free fitness session.
  • Gamercize Gym Pod with Xbox 360 Elite at Chamberlayne Leisure Centre, telephone 023 8043 7668

  • Gamercize Gym Pod with PlayStation 3 at St Mary's Leisure Centre, telephone 023 8022 7579
Visit Active Southampton for more information.

Wednesday, March 12

XRTZ approach to healthy kids

Greetings! Thanks to Richard for the invitation to post in his blog. I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss how we're using exergaming to impact the lives of families at the XRtainment Zone (

Coming from a healthcare background and having worked with obesity in the clinical setting for the last 14 years, we do not shy away from addressing the problem head-on.

The XRTZ is more of a family fitness and wellness center that uses exergaming as it's main attraction and interventional tool, rather than an elaborate video game place that hopes to get kids moving enough to get them to be fit on the sly. While we bank on this form of "stealth exercise", we are much more up front about our ulterior motives at the Zone! (Every member has the option of getting a full health and fitness assessment done, for example.) We have basically blended my medical group's health education with the
exergaming gym.
One of our key differences from most of the other exergaming gyms and businesses currently out there is our focus on the whole family, and not just the kids.

Anyone who works in the healthcare side of obesity, especially pediatric obesity,
knows that to really impact the weight and health of a child, you have to include the WHOLE family, especially the parents, since they are the main decision makers on what foods to buy, where to eat, what activities to do, etc. To a lesser extent, we also focus on the siblings because it makes it easier for the overweight sibling to do the healthy thing if the parents AND siblings are doing it as well.

Bottom line, you have to institute a whole family lifestyle change if you're going to see an improvement in the overweight child's health.

This is why we are one of the few, if only ones, who has an insurance contract where this particular insurance company will cover the cost of our 7-week Family Fit class and up to 4 months of post-class membership for continued follow-up at the Zone for kids who are at or above the 95th%-tile BMI.

Finally, exercise is only part of the solution for really making a difference in the health of kids. Nutrition is a vital component to their success, so we have incorporated a demonstration kitchen in our multipurpose room where we focus on nutrition education and interaction in just about all of our programs. This way, we can
impact both their physical and nutritional aspect of their lifestyles.

Pediatric obesity was said to be our "greatest national security threat" by the former US Surgeon General Richard Carmon (2006, ACSM Annual Meeting). We at the XRtainment Zone are doing our part in fighting this epidemic. We are working on having more Zones all over the country and the world, since this, unfortunately, is not just a US problem anymore. We encourage others to join us in this fight, and utilize this incredible technology of video games to help us help our future: our kids.

Erne Medina, Jr., DrPH, CHFI
CEO/Co-founder, XRtainment Zone LLC
CEE "Chief Exergaming Evangelist"

Gamercize at the Max on TV

Shown with Wii-Fit and Nike+

Gamercize has been on BBC News on two separate occasions so far this year; Geoff Maskell reported on Gamercize in schools and Tom Hepworth featured Gamercize in gyms. For some reason the reports have not been put up on the BBC website, but our friends in Australia know how to put it all together though, after all they are in the future!

On Australian TV, technology expert Charlie Brown featured Gamercize GZ Pro-Sport for Xbox 360 alongside Wii-Fit and Nike+. The Today Show is very popular across Australia and especially in Melbourne.

Nintendo demonstrator, Jamie, starts off with Wii-Fit and I must say Charlies review is very accurate and realistic in what the balance board aims to achieve - not sensationalist as I have seen from some US and UK news sources! Jamie then jumps on the Gamercize equipment to show us how it works. Even though there is a Pro-Sport version for the Wii our Nintendo demonstrator is given the Xbox 360 version!

However, someone at the show played an even worse trick on him and set the GZ Pro-Sport to it's maximum exercise level!

Being a great sport, Jamie rises to the challenge and pumps up the pace, showing us less capable mortals Gamercize's true potential in real cardio exercise. I'm very pleased with the coverage, at last Wii-Fit and Gamercize are not put head to head in competition, but are both more accurately shown as totally different products. I'm sure Nintendo will agree.

One thing I will say though - use Gamercize and it will get you fit! Check out the TV clip from the Today Show here.

Friday, March 7

Why Gamercize Works

Simply Designed for Fun

All Gamercize products have one simple concept. Keep moving or get paused out until you start moving again. It's so simple but yet it confuses some commentators!

The key behind the success and effectiveness of Gamercize is that exercise is a small part of the experience. It is true Gamercize gives the best cardio workout out of all the mainstream video game exercise options, but what really makes the Gamercize concept work is we hide that physical effort from you.

How do we hide the effort from you? We use the real stars of the video game world: the great games you buy that keep you entertained for hours! Keeping exercise simple and detached from the game you're playing means we don't ruin the game play and you will forget you are exercising and concentrate on the fun part - playing the game.

Of course the games are so very entertaining you will slow down or stop exercising, so that's when the Gamercize concept kicks in - to pause the game until you start moving again. That happens a couple of times when you first start but your body soon gets the message and exercise becomes automatic.

Simple, it does appear, is best and there's no better than Gamercize for your self-motivation in kick starting a more active lifestyle that's not hard work - but real fun!