If Your Child Needs To Exercise, Try Video Games
Children Love Video Games
This might be an all too familiar sight for parents. It could be a beautiful summer day with birds chirping. Your 80 year old neighbor, William, is walking his dog effortlessly. As he walks by he asks “So, where are the kids?” You painfully respond with, “Oh, just playing those darn video games again.” William than immediately says, “When I was a kid, I played tackle football all day long. When I got home, I had scrapes all over my body. And you know what, I loved it. I may have screamed like a girl when my Mother had to clean my wounds, but it made me the man that I am today.” Ironically, William was pulled away forcefully by his Chihuahua.
Does this sound like your children? Are your children addicted to video games? Think about that question for a moment before you read on.
I am not a fitness expert or a parenting guru. However, I doubt that raising healthy children and playing video games can co-exist unless parents are more proactive with their child on how their free time is spent. I know this because I once was a kid that loved video games. Video games were the subject of conversation even more than girls. That says a lot when you are a boy that was approaching the awkward stages of puberty.
My friends loved video games just as much. However, that did not mean that we spent all of our adolescent lives in front of a television screen. We were busy dreaming about playing like Michael Jordan or throwing a winning touchdown pass to end a game. We did not live our dreams through a virtual character on a screen. We got the neighborhood boys together and played all day long. At the end of the day, we smelled like old cheese, but we felt great! Usually, we only played video games when we were too tired or when there was no sun.
The Age of Video Games: Obesity in Children and Teens
As we approach the year 2012, the video game industry is booming! However, so are the waistlines of our youth. According to the US Centers for Disease and Control, almost 18% of US teens are obese. The study is not concluding that video games are the sole reason of obesity; however it should not be excluded from the list of causes. If you struggle to motivate your child to replace video games with more physical activity, the resolution might be staring you right in the face.
Can Video Games be a Form of Exercise?
Yes, it is true. There is new technology available that allows anyone of any age to break a sweat and love it! Best of all, it is still a video game!
Nintendo was one of the first mainstream video game developers that brought the idea of video games that force you to be active several years ago. The Nintendo Wii was a new platform that made video games practical again. Instead of having several different buttons for game play, you only have a few. In a matter of minutes anyone of any age can play games such as Bowling, Soccer, Baseball and Track and Field. The Wii was fairly accurate at matching the player’s actual movement along with movements of the character on the game. Visit this link for a Complete list of Wii Games.
The Xbox Kinect Video Game System: The Easiest Way To Exercise and Have Fun Doing It!
As I age, I struggle to find the time and motivation to exercise. My lack of exercise makes me feel sluggish and unhappy. As an Xbox 360 owner myself, after I heard about the new hands-free game that was coming to the Xbox, I was excited to try it out. My optimism was high for the Xbox Kinect as I felt that it might get me excited about working out and getting my body back. My initial review of the Xbox Kinect could be best described as “Fantastic”. I loved the fact that the Kinect was completely hands free. I felt some of the downfalls of the Nintendo Wii were the controllers and I never felt like mymovements were accurately displayed on the screen. In addition, I do not have to worry about anyone accidentally throwing a controller at my television screen when playing Kinect games.
I do not work for Microsoft, so I am not writing this short review for any type of personal gain. I will give you the good and bad news about this Xbox accessory. I will start with the bad news.
- First, you must own an Xbox 360 console. I did a quick search on Google and found out you can buy the Xbox 360 Console with Kinect for $299.99. If you already have an Xbox 360, you can buy the Kinect for $149.99.
- The Xbox Kinect requires all users to get off the couch (the instructions actually included this warning).
- Probably not a good idea to buy a Kinect if you live in an apartment–unless your neighbors love the sound of kids screaming and grown men jumping up and down.
- Not every Xbox game is Kinect compatible. Make sure the game case says that it is an Xbox Kinect compatible game.
- Easy to install. Simply follow the instructions, plug in the USB cable and begin calibration process.
- Completely hands-free game play. No controller is required to play Xbox Kinect games.
- Can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. Since it is hands free, even your Grandparents can enjoy the Kinect.
- Can be fun as a recreational video game system and can be beneficial to the serious athlete.
The Best Kinect Games To Get Into Shape:
The Xbox Kinect has games that everyone can enjoy. From “Kinect Adventures”, “Sonic Free Riders”, “Dance Central”, “Kinect Sports” and “The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout”. Each game proves to be enjoyable and quite frankly, a great workout. I am ashamed to say that after competing on the champion setting in track and field, I was sore for days.
I have now owned the Xbox Kinect for almost six months and I recently decided to take it up a notch. I bought the “Biggest Loser-Ultimate Workout”. I find it difficult to call this a game, but it is an useful tool for anyone regardless of their fitness goals. The “program” analyzes your body and determines your strengths and weaknesses. You get customized diets and a calorie counter to make sure you stay on track. My fitness goals are to tone and add muscle to my body. However, it is truly frightening to watch how slowly the calorie counter increases. As I wipe the sweat off my face after an intense 30 minute workout, I find out I only burned 180 calories. It makes me think twice when I look at a 12-ounce bottle of soda that has 150 calories. It takes a half hour of intense exercise to burn off a can of pop! Just in case you are curious, the Biggest Loser program has many different levels of difficulty, so you can go at the pace you choose. It even has yoga and tips to meditate! It is almost like there is a fitness instructor in your living room! There are many other fitness games for the Xbox Kinect (see this list of fitness games for the Xbox Kinect).
Conclusion: Getting Kids Into Shape Playing Video Games
If you are struggling to get your child or teenager interested in working out, ask them to try the Xbox Kinect. If you own a PlayStation 3, try the comparable PlayStation Move. The Move is also easy to use and it puts the user in full control! Your child might not even notice that they are getting a workout! As parents, it is your job to make every effort possible to help your child understand that every decision they make affects them for the rest of their life. If they choose to follow a non-active lifestyle, they will suffer later on in life. Making the right decision is never easy. However, sometimes adolescents just need a push in the right direction. If your loved one enjoys video games but feels as though they are allergic to sweat, video game systems such as the Xbox Kinect might be their first step towards a healthier life!
If Grandma can have fun and break a sweat, so can you and your children!