Thursday, April 12, 2012

Video games or Fitness?

Would you rather spend a large chunk of your day playing X-Box or PS2, or would you rather go hop on a bike or step-up machine?  My answer, why not do both?  Today, after experiencing what SUNY Cortland's Exergame lab has to offer, I can say without a second thought, that playing video games, and getting a good amount of cardio at the same time is indeed possible.  In lab, I was able to use technology that many people are not aware of.  I played a racing game for the PlayStation 2 and had to fuel my car by riding a bike.  If i were to ever stop riding, or slow down, so would the car regardless of what buttons I push.
While doing this, it is set up like a normal bike in the gym; you can set your workout to make it easier or harder depending on what you want to do.  If this kind of technology is introduced to children at a young age when they are highly impressionable, it will grow and become more popular than ever.  This would aid in lowering the childhood obesity rate we have in the United States and potentially worldwide.  We just need to make this technology known and get more people involved so we can launch phys-ed programs that are both highly effective as well as interactive to attract the maximum amount of people.

In addition to the technology I was introduced to, I was also shown toys geared for Pre-K children that can also be highly interactive and allow a change in the typical Phys-ed setting.  One game piece that stood out to me in particular was the Hyper Dash Game  This device allows for an almost endless amount of game variations.  A game that could be utilized for younger children would involve the handheld device, multiple color bowls with varying numbers, and cones.  You would scatter some of the bowls around the gym (relatively far apart) and then cover them with cones.  when the Hyper Dash device tells them which ones they need to find and "scan", they will have to run and flip over the cones quickly get to best time.  If you let them go multiple times, it will help with their memory while they try to remember which colors are under which cones.  If you constantly change the place of the colors in one session, they will not develop that memory and lose part of what is gained from the game.  Ultimately, we need to engage younger children more and broaden the games we play with them so that they can not only grow physically, but mentally as well; even if they are unaware of what we are doing at the time.  Our goal as an educator, is to educate our students in all ways we can.

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