Current recommendations suggest that children should be getting 60 minutes of physical activity everyday. With big screen televisions and video games occupying a majority of youths theses days, 60 minutes seems like quite a task. Or is it? Well I can tell you from experience that the constant innovations that are being made to incorporate physical activity within video game systems proves that 60 minutes can be easily attainable and fun!
Maximum heart rate (MHR) can be calculated by subtracting your age by 220. Intensity of heart rate varies based on activity but can be described as:
High intensity: any exercise greater then 70% of MHR
Moderate intensity: any exercise between 50%-70% of MHR
Low intensity: any exercise between 30%-50% of MHR
Today in class we got to experiment with equipment such as a Play Station 2 hooked up to an exercise bike where you would peddle in a racing game ("CARS") to get your vehicle to move. The faster you peddle, the faster the car in the game goes.
We also got to play an XBOX 360 where the controller was hooked up to a stepping machine. If you stopped stepping the controller would turn off and the game would pause.
Finally we also played Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) through the Play Station 2 where you had to follow the arrows on the screen and step in the direction of the arrows on a pad laid out on the floor.
I was wearing a heart monitor for all three activities and to my surprise my levels were in the high intensity range for all three activities.
When I first saw all of the equipment I thought it would be no problem. Wrong! within the first two minutes of the activities I began to sweat quite heavily. Perhaps the most shocking observation was that not only did I forget that I was exercising, it also made me work harder! This experience has made me a believer in technology and I firmly believe it can play an important role in physical education and the goal of teaching children to become physically active for a lifetime. Next time you have a chance to experience these new technologies that incorporate exercise and video games I suggest you jump at it. You will be surprised at the amount of effort it takes and enjoyment you can have!