MANHATTAN, KAN. -- While some emerging technologies can create environments that require very little physical effort, one Kansas State University researcher thinks games like Nintendo's Wii Fit can help promote physical rather than sedentary activities for people of all ages.
"I think there is a great potential to develop ways to promote physical activity through technology," said David Dzewaltowski, professor and head of the department of kinesiology at K-State and director of the university's Community Health Institute. "Kids innately like to move, so I believe that there is a big future in games that use emerging technologies and require movement because the games will be enjoyed by children and also be more healthy than existing games."
In a commentary published in the October 2008 Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, Dzewaltowski discussed how technology is changing our everyday life and affecting our health.
Wii Fit has games that incorporate yoga, strength training, balance and aerobics. The games are interactive and require the player to physically move, which is better than nothing, Dzewaltowski said. It uses a balance board and allows gamers to simulate challenges like snowboarding down a mountain.
"Anything that gets people to move more than they have in the past is positive, but if people are trying to replace physical activity that demands more movement with the Wii, then that will be negative," Dzewaltowski said.
He said it is difficult in a small indoor space to replicate the intensity of some real-life physical activities, though dance video games are effective at demanding physical movements that require caloric expenditure.
"The caloric expenditure demanded by an activity depends on the energy necessary to move the body's weight to complete the task and how long you perform the task," Dzewaltowski said.
He added that different activities demand different amounts of caloric e
|Contact: David Dzewaltowski|
Kansas State University