November 19, 2008
| by Adam Dioria
Forget the old stereotypes about gamers being overweight slobs whose waistlines rival the circumference of the new Yankee stadium. So-called “exer-games,” or titles which get players up off the couch and sweating, are one of interactive entertainment’s current hottest trends.
The verdict is in from parents as well as educators and the scientific community, and results are highly promising. According to studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic, children who played Sony’s physical gesture fueled EyeToy games became three times as active as those who favored simple joystick powered amusements. Researchers at the University of Nebraska discovered that survey participants who engaged in motion-sensing Wii games achieved the same heart rate as they would walking, and tripled their energy expenditure and oxygen consumption levels.
The general public isn’t safe from the craze either, with several Westin hotels throughout the nation offer a special edition of virtual trainer Wii Fit at their on-site gyms. West Virginia has even adopted dancing simulator Dance Dance Revolution as an official staple of statewide PE programs, joining several other states in making it a crucial part of teaching kids about physical health and fitness.
To be realistic, it does bear keeping in mind that software makers can’t promise results overnight. Many, in fact, have been trying to find the perfect blend of virtual weight loss routine since long before even the NES Power Pad had preteens stomping their way to an early coronary with World Class Track Meet. But the reality is that any title that puts more pep in players’ step, or sees them waving more than just thumbs or potato chip clutching hands, can’t help but be a step forward for the medium.
From increasing dexterity to improving vision, shaving off pounds and burning calories en masse, the following titles can all help you carve away holiday flab or fight back against the “Freshman 15.” While results may vary, as compared with, oh, sit-ups or crunches, we think it’s safe to say all make an excellent addition to any daily workout regardless.
Click here to view 8 Video Games That Will Keep You In Shape.