Want Your Kids to Exercise? Let Them Play Games!

Time.com - Healthland

Time.com - Healthland

It’s a win-win for parents and kids: if you’re having trouble convincing your kids to follow the government’s advice to get moving, a new study suggests you can just leave them alone with their video games.

Okay, so not all video games can boost children’s exercise levels, but the latest research shows that games that require the most physical activity are enough to help youngsters break a sweat and reach recommended levels of moderate to vigorous activity.

Scientists at Brigham Young University and the University of Massachusetts report Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine that activity-based video games, better known as “exergames,” can help children expend at least as much energy — and with some games, even up to twice as much — as walking on a treadmill.

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While previous studies have documented the benefits of games such as Dance Dance Revolution and others on the Wii and PlayStation systems, study co-author Bruce Bailey, a professor in exercise sciences at Brigham Young, wanted to learn more about how much impact the games could have on children’s fitness. “We were interested in what can children get out of them,” he says. “If they chose the right games and the right levels, could they improve their energy expenditure enough so they might have a positive impact on body weight and body composition?”

It turns out they can. Compared to the energy they used while remaining sedentary for 15 mins. in the lab, the 39 boys and girls in the study burned up to seven times as much energy after 10 mins. of playing the various exergames. Bailey and his co-author Kyle McInnis of University of Massachusetts studied six exergames, three that are popular on the consumer market, and three that are used widely in commercial children’s fitness centers and schools.

Wii Boxing, the researchers found, involved the least energy investment, requiring as much as walking on a treadmill for 10 mins. The other five games tested, which included Dance Dance Revolution, Cybex Trazer Goalie Wars, LightSpace Bug Invasion, Sportwall and Xavix J-Mat, involved, in order, increasingly greater levels of energy expenditure. Kids used twice as much energy when they used the Xavix system, on which they played sports or games on a mat that detected their movements, as when they walked on the treadmill.

Lightspace Floor Bug Invasion Demo:

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Not only were the participants using more energy than when on a treadmill, but when Bailey and Innis asked the youngsters about how much they liked the games, not surprisingly they were all enthusiastic about the play. “We can put kids on a treadmill, but the likelihood over a long period of time is that it will be difficult to keep the children focused and interested,” says Bailey. “If we use something like [exergames], where they want to participate and want to be involved, I think it might benefit both them and everyone trying to deal with the issue of improving physical activity levels.”

The study is among the first to document that exercise during exergaming can reach levels of what experts define as moderate or vigorous physical activity, and the next step is to start testing these programs in schools to determine whether they can have a real impact on children’s physical activity levels. Bailey was particularly encouraged by the fact that the overweight children in the study liked the exergames the most, which suggests that the video games could be an effective way to entice heavier children to start becoming more active. “If these activities can increase energy expenditure, they can reach some children who might not otherwise be reached by traditional PE programs,” he says.

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Tests in school systems will also help researchers get a better idea for how lasting the benefits might be. Children are notoriously fickle after all: they may become enamored of new and different exergame-based programs, but then may quickly tire of them, just as they get bored of the rote nature of physical education classes. In an editorial accompanying the study, James Sallis, a psychologist at San Diego State University, notes:

The effect on energy expenditure and health outcomes is determined by the frequency, intensity, duration and types of games used in everyday life. Findings to date regarding this topic indicate that regardless of how frequently adolescents play the games when they first obtain them, use typically declines within a few weeks or months.

As with any program aimed at children and teens, the key to exploiting the benefits of exergames may be in holding students’ attention long enough to get them hooked on physical activity in general. By starting them out on video games, the hope is that kids will start to want to engage in other kinds of physical activity, such as sports or other organized activity outdoors. At some point, once children get bored with simulating exercise indoors, health officials hope they’ll be motivate to get outdoors and do the real thing.

New study links physical fitness, academic performance to middle-schoolers

PE Class / Exercise

PE Class / Exercise

BALTIMORE– Cutting physical education classes to focus on academics might be counterproductive, according to research presented today at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

A study showed that middle-school students with higher levels of physical fitness fared better on standardized tests than students who were less fit. The study involved 338 sixth-grade students at a small, urban middle school in central Illinois, and showed that students who were more fit tended to show stronger academic achievement.

Students meeting cardiovascular fitness standards “were six times more likely to meet or exceed Illinois reading standards and over two-and-a-half times more likely to meet or exceed the math standards,” said Ronald W. Bass, lead researcher of the study.

Bass’ study found significant correlations between boys’ reading scores and both body mass index and their ability to perform curl-ups. Girls’ cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength correlated to math scores. There was also a significant association between cardiovascular fitness and reading scores.

Researchers say these results, reinforcing previous studies linking physical activity and academic performance, have clear implications for policy makers.

“The emphasis on standardized test scores has meant less funding for physical education and physical activity in schools,” Bass said. “Given the increasing body of knowledge on the subject, schools may want to place more emphasis on physical education and physical activity programs not only to improve students’ health but to raise their academic achievement as well.”

Questions of education policy, standardized testing and strategies for boosting student achievement are coming into sharp focus with the impending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in Congress.

 

 

Lightspace Wall Multiplayer LED Active Gaming System

What is it?
The Lightspace Move Wall combines the latest in interactive technology with software controlled content that will provide hours of fun and exercise for kids and adults of all ages and abilities. Conduct relay-races as the wall is perfect for this type of setting! The system is capable of storing and running a potentially limitless variety of games and interactive programs that can be used by multiple participants simultaneously.

The Lightspace Move Wall creates an engaging experience that will draw young children, teenagers and adults to activities what will excite and entertain them, all while keeping them active and fit. The Move Wall is controlled and powered via the Lightspace Console.

Check this out!

  • Keeps children active in a safe and entertaining environment
  • Tests both mental and physical ability
  • Variety of games for a cardiovascular and goal driven workout
  • Operators can customize the length of games, cost and difficulty level
  • Extremely durable tiles can withstand up to 3000lb pressure

Operating the Lightspace System:
The Lightspace Tiles are made out of a polycarbonate shell that will withstand 3000lb of pressure per tile all protected by a vinyl membrane. The wall mount console is constructed of steel and powder coated for protection. The Lightspace Move Software gives you full control over your content. You decide which games are active, where each game is located, even the game’s length. With this password protected Administration Area, operators can control almost every aspect of their system. The Administration Area also holds a full Diagnostic Suite and displays key reports showing you how much your content is being played.

Maintenance is just as easy. At the end of the day, just clean the surface with a damp cloth. If your vinyl covering becomes dirty or damaged, all that is needed to replace is the vinyl. The Lightspace Move System also ships with a spare tile. If for some reason you are having issues with a tile, simply disconnect it, pull it right up and drop in the spare. Everything is back up and running in less than five minutes.

This is an Exergaming experience like no other. Lightspace puts physical activity into a game context. Activity becomes entertaining. Kids can run, jump, move, and throw balls in an environment of fun, not one of pressure to perform. Cooperative games require players to work together to beat competing players, adding a dimension of cooperative play to the games. And because the games are responsive to the users, users are able to perfect their skills at their own pace. The games gradually become more difficult as the players become more proficient.

“Some games are simple, with straightforward rules and lower skill requirements. Other games are more complicated. There’s something for everyone.”

Operating the Lightspace System:
The Lightspace Tiles are made out of a polycarbonate shell that will withstand 3000lb of pressure per tile all protected by a vinyl membrane. The wall mount console is constructed of steel and powder coated for protection.

The Lightspace Move Software gives you full control over your content. You decide which games are active, where each game is located, even the game’s length. With this password protected Administration Area, operators can control almost every aspect of their system. The Administration Area also holds a full Diagnostic Suite and displays key reports showing you how much your content is being played.

Maintenance is just as easy. At the end of the day, just clean the surface with a damp cloth or mop and bucket. If your vinyl covering becomes dirty or damaged, all that is needed to replace is the vinyl. The Lightspace Move System also ships with a spare tile. If for some reason you are having issues with a tile, simply disconnect it, pull it right up and drop in the spare. Everything is back up and running in less than five minutes.

System Highlights:

  • Simple (UI) user interface which allows kids to choose Games, Activities & Lightshows”
  • Operate fun and engaging relay races and huge multi-player activities within your facility
  • Audio prompts and game instructions make playing every activity easy
  • Visually stunning and appealing. The Lightspace emits vivid LED colors when being used
  • Socially fun, the Lightspace generates a competitive or co-op physical activity games
  • Use a variety of accessories such as boxing gloves, medicine balls and more to enhance the system
  • Flush mounted touchscreen allows for more free space at every facility
  • User statistical data is saved on the system such as game time, high scores etc
  • On-board diagnostic system making service easy. Updates come in the form of Disc or USB input
  • Develops fitness skills, social interaction & combines physical activity with engaging technology

Develops Fitness Skills
Lightspace will develop the same skills that regular  fitness programs develop: endurance, coordination, agility, and flexibility, as well as strategic thinking and memory. Kids would need to participate in several sports to  get the same benefits. Lightspace has 7 games for the play floor, Dodgeball, Bug Invasion, Musical Squares, Tennis Pro, Memory Buster, Zero Gravity, and Knock Down. As kids move from one game to the other, they improve different skills without breaking their rhythm or losing their enthusiasm.

Promotes healthy social interaction
Most video games provide a personal experience. Even 2-player games usually require the kids to focus on the screen in front of them. Lightspace’s unique surface allows players to interact with one another. The nature of the gaming experience fosters communication and healthy interaction between players.

Combines physical activity and electronic entertainment
With the increasing rate of obesity  among children, physically interactive video games are an effective and increasing popular form of exercise. The combination of physical movement and the competitive nature of video games has many previously sedentary children spending several hours a week engaging in aerobic activity and enjoying it. Lightspace is an excellent source of entertainment, and a fun way to keep fit.

Lightspace Wall Games:

Lightspace Wall Activities:

How many users does it accommodate?
The Lightspace Floor can handle 1 player to 25 players depending on the game.

What is the age range of users?
5 years old to senior

How much space does it take up?
11 x 11

What is the warranty?
1 Year Warranty - 6 Months Parts

 

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