Local News

Video Games Not Just Entertainment For Kids Any More

Posted February 3, 2006

— Some people say video games get part of the blame for the childhood obesity epidemic. A YMCA in Worchester, Mass., has a strategy -- get kids exercising through active video games.

Project director Karen Gagilastre said so far the pilot program, called the virtual gym, has been a great success.

"The virtual gym is fun and so the kids want to come in, they're used to playing video games, they're used to playing with technology," Gagliastre said.

Now, some companies have introduced video games for the home that incorporate movement. But the program is unique because the purpose is not entertainment, it's specifically for exercise.

The room has three areas including the Trayzer, which uses a belt sensor to put kids in the game. They try to match their movements with the characters on the screen.

In the Kilowatt, kids race against each other. Instead of pushing buttons, they have to push and pull a tension bar. At the sports wall, kids compete to hit certain sensors for the highest points.

"It increases their agility, their coordination, endurance, strength but also infuses the teamwork approach," Gagliastre said.

Other YMCAs are interested in the program, which means virtual gyms could pop up across the country.


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