Fitness: Coming to a Video Game Near You

After sticking with his self-fashioned fitness program for just eight months, Keene says he could almost see the pounds melt away.

"In August of 2003 I finally said, 'I think I'm skinny now,'" he gleefully remembered.

Even after he lost almost 80 pounds, Keene says some people still have trouble believing that he accomplished it with a video game.

"A cop pulled me over, and I don't have a new license -- I still have the 'bigger' picture," Keene said. "He asked me how I [lost the weight] and I said video games. He said 'Don't be a smartass.' "

As impressed as the officer was, Keene says he still got a ticket.

Changing Perceptions

Industry experts say that video games offer users a unique opportunity to participate that makes offering fitness-based games a natural fit.

"I really think that the advantage that the video game console has in presenting this is its interactivity," said Rob Smith, editor in chief of Official Xbox Magazine. "It speaks more to [game consoles] being in the home and using what it can do as an interactive sort of vessel."

Smith believes that as gaming consoles are becoming more and more common and capable of delivering more varied forms of interactive entertainment, the public's perception of what a video game can be is changing too.

"As soon as the concept of the entertainment box in the living room isn't just a VCR or a DVR or whatever, but has a bunch of different applications," he said, "we'll see a vast range of products presenting themselves in the living room, and sort of taking advantage of the interaction that you get from a video game console that you don't get by watching videos or DVDs."

A Healthy Future

After watching how her students have enthusiastically taken to cardiovascular workouts using video games, Kupchick needs no convincing, but admits some of her colleagues may have reservations about using video games in phys ed.

"You have some teachers who are just old-fashioned teachers, where it's team sports and that's it," she said. "Within our own district there's another high school that doesn't want anything to do with it. Some of us want to look outside of the box, and some of us want to stay inside the box."

Whether the future of fitness is filled with interactive entertainment or not is anyone's guess, but Kupchick says as long as people are moving, it doesn't matter what they're doing.

"Activity is what you make of it," she said. "We hope that in the long run they turn around and start enjoying it and we get them looking into some kind of activity for their lifetime and that we can keep them healthy."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...