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Wellness Gaming: The Exergame Niche

Computer gaming, branded a major contributor to inactivity and obesity, is undergoing a radical rehabilitation as a healthy pastime thanks to new innovative Exergames. In a recent article “Exergames – A Digital Drive For Healthy Living,” solid research by Dr. Alasdair  G. Thin, Lecturer in Human Physiology at Heriot-Watt University prompted an insightful interview.

Thin’s White Paper entitled “Sports Wellness and Exergaming: Gaming4Life” has been published by WHI. For a comprehensive summary and link to the white paper CLICK HERE.

His report says: “Replacing the sedentary component of video game play with physical exertion while maintaining the game play elements is a very attractive proposition.”

It adds: “Exergaming and Sport Wellness in general have the potential to transform exercise that is tedious and discomforting into a form that is appealing.”  At HCD we understand how important it is to provide access, options and engagement for the least active and inactive among any target population.

Thin says that the preponderance of lifestyle factors underlying the major health problems facing the developed world today means that governments are by and large powerless to tackle these issues directly. They can only empower people to make the right lifestyle decisions. Again, this leads to the importance of Programming and destination or home options that are motivating in themsleves.

But Thin argues there has until very recently been a “gaping omission” in considering digital technology as a supportive environment for helping people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

While improved technology to detect body movement coupled with improved game design will increase the level of calorie burn of Exergames evidence is emerging that they also deliver psychological and social benefits.

The White Paper was launched at a recent meeting of 60 of Scotland’s key individuals in the Wellness & Health and gaming industries in Scotland at the Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education at Abertay University in Dundee. We congratulate Dr. Thin and look forward to more great stories coming from his work in the field of exergaming.

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