Monday, January 30, 2012

Social Health Games Increasing Physical Fitness

          Research has shown a tremendous growth in the popularity of social gaming over the years. There has been a noticeable connection between social games improving health and fitness as well. Social gaming is known to be a fun and entertaining way to promote exercise and healthier eating habits. Participating in social games is a collective way to challenge friends, family, and co-workers to various fitness tasks, which will spark competition and motivation. Social gaming is an educational way to reach out to people and teach them the valuable lessons of better health.
There are numerous social games that are available to encourage a healthier lifestyle. One game for example, known as Zamzee, is designed to attract kids that will fight against obesity. In this game, kids are given a pocket monitor that senses their physical activity automatically. When the monitor senses their activity, the kids are awarded points for their movements. The kids can choose any type of movement to exhibit such as jogging, dancing, hopping, or biking. The more upbeat and demanding the activity is, the more points that the player will earn. The kids can check their scores by going online to see the amount of points they have earned for the day. Points are broken down by every minute, hour, and day, which allows the kids to see their exact activity level and be aware of what physical activity, is the most beneficial for them. This is a great game for kids to play with their friends, because it stimulates friendly competition and it also engages the students in physical activity. When the kids are outside playing a pickup basketball game in the neighborhood, they can easily log into Zamzee, and compete to see who was the most active for the day or who has the most overall points earned from one game of basketball.
Recently, Xbox has come out with a game that is controller free and entails full body participation. The game, Kinect Sports, is a highly active game which allows participants to practice their kicks, jumps, dance moves, distance sprints, and several other physical movements. Kinect Sports entails physical activity that may strenuous at times; however it is a fun and effective workout. The majority of participants are not even aware they are getting an excellent workout, because they are having a good time competing against friends in a social setting.
Xbox is not the only gaming device that has creative games to enhance physical activity. These days, with phones being incredibly technologically advanced, there are several applications that are available to download onto a smart phone that can help keep track of physical activity as well as promote a healthier and better lifestyle. For example, Nike has their own application that anyone can download, which has several workouts and exercises available on demand. The Nike Plus application provides subscribers with instant exercises, whether it is 15 minute abs or an intense cardiovascular track workout, there is always numerous physical activities to choose from. Not only is there a wide array of workouts that Nike provides, they also track your physical activity and can relay back to you the time it took you to run a mile, or the amount of calories you burned. This application is a very effective and useful device to have. This simple application which anyone can download makes working out easier and more beneficial. With this application, there is no excuse for insufficient workouts or for laziness, because one can even track the amount of steps they take in one day. As physical educators, we all know that 10,000 steps per day is the target goal, which can be controlled and accounted for now with this Nike Plus application.
                According to the article, How Social Health Games Can Make You Trimmer and Fitter, there are several technological advances that society can tremendously benefit from. These social advances make the process of working out much more enjoyable and easier for people of all ages. Social gaming is not just over used versions of video games; they are actually vigorous games that promote and maintain physical activity. For those people who would rather not go outside to run miles around the track, they don’t have too. Now those people can participate in games such as boxing which will increase their heart rate just as much as running around a track would. To the world there is a lot more possibilities and opportunities available to influence physical activity and the technology continues to increase. 

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