Exergaming suffering from "video gaming revulsion"
Last year I presented Gamercize to a group representing the Trust that has a lot to do with Youth Sport (of which we are members). The chairwoman of this organisation is highly respected and even holds an MBE (that’s the honour below the widely recognised British OBE). After watching a short TV clip from BBC East Midlands as part of the presentation, that showed kids using video games for exercise, she could hardly contain herself.
It was not the fact that we’d happily engaged 97% of the kids in moderate to intense levels of activity (while traditional PE here is littered with sick notes and missing kit) that meant she lost composure; it was, in contrast, a negative response. “Seeing those kids playing video games in PE makes me feel sick!” she retorted, and the only question she asked in the whole presentation was “are those DVDs?” while pointing to a stack of kids PS2 games.
Needless to say she was in the minority of 1, as the closer the delegates were to implementation or kids, the more fired up and keen they were. The trend to the positive from government and organisations like this Trust are far more encouraging. Responses like these, starting with the Chief Medical Officers annual report, published this week, illustrate the tides of change for exergaming acceptance:
"My concern over the growing obesity ‘time bomb’ facing this country is well known, and the East Midlands is looking at the possibility of using interactive computer games to help obese children lose weight. Initial results look promising, and this could prove to be one of the ways of engaging overweight children in exercise." Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health.
"Gamercize is unique, innovative and exciting. Our Youth Fitness Academy and Playscheme Kids have found the concept fun, interactive and competitive." Jon Randall, Facility Manager, Southampton (Chamberlayne) Leisure Centre
"This test encouraged children to be more active, and that’s a great starting point. I know as a dad that the reason why video games are so popular is because they are so good, and kids will not leave them. It’s better to be smart and work with the games, making children more active in the process." Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of Weight Concern and associate specialist University Hospital Nottingham
"This is a very interesting result – it opens up a possible way of getting children more active." Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum
"Physical inactivity in children is a major cause of the obesity epidemic, and Gamercize provides an innovative solution, reducing sedentary behaviour, whilst maintaining enjoyment, making it a popular and appealing remedy. This study begins to show that by providing more novel opportunities, it is possible to increase a child's activity in a painless and effective way." Dr David Haslam, Clinical Director of the National Obesity Forum
"Ideally children should be running around fields and expending energy naturally, but a lot of children are unable to do this so active gaming brings about energy balance. The key to all this is that children must have fun and the value of Gamercize is that children have a great time using it." Tam Fry, National Obesity Forum's board member for children and the Honorary Chairman of the Child Growth Foundation
“I first saw Gamercize at a schools trial, where a class of 31 children were exercising on steppers and cycles playing PlayStation2. Out of all the equipment at the trial, boys and girls were asked to vote for a favourite. Gamercize was the clear winner, proving twice as popular as a second placed game racing bike. From a schools perspective, the flexibility of Gamercize to be used with more than one player provides a required social aspect to physical education. The ability to choose any game is also very useful, and helps maintain interest over time and engage all children.” Helen Ley, Sports Development Manager, Sport Hampshire & IOW
"We are committed to increasing opportunities and access for active participation amongst young people in the City. This innovative approach in partnership with Southampton Football Club and Gamercize is an initiative that compliments Active Southampton challenge of getting the people of Southampton active 30 minutes a day." Jayne Ludden, Sport and Recreation Services Manager, Southampton City Council
"This is a great British invention that could begin to bridge the gap between exercise levels of both adults and children today and what they should be doing. It makes it realistic to achieve an hour’s exercise in a lunch time if you’re stuck in the office and likewise for children who would rather stay inside playing games." Brigid Simmonds OBE, Business in Sport and Leisure CEO, who also worked on the Foresight Obesity Report
“Gamercize is a brilliant way to engage with pupils who my not be currently active within school sport. It gives a new opportunity to pupils allowing them to win in competitions individually and as a team, plus, have a fun social aspect that can incorporate even the unlikeliest of teachers! The great thing about Gamercize is that pupils do not even realise they are active gaming and come off the machines sweating with heavy breathing. Gamercize came to one of my schools for a pilot demonstration and it was great to know that over the course of the day pupils stepped a huge amount that equated to jogging all the way from Derby to Liverpool City Centre”. Phil Basterfield, Competition Manager, Derbyshire Sport
I'm happy to leave the last word with the expert majority... case closed!
Friday, March 20
Exergaming suffering from "video gaming revulsion"