What are the Benefits of Exergaming? And What is Exergaming?
According to the Government of Canada website, in 2017 30% of children aged 5-17 are overweight or obese.[i] Exergaming gets children moving and doing something that’s fun and engaging. TekyGo! uses exergaming to promote health and well-being for an age-group that is doing less and less physical activity.
Despite all of the benefits, exergaming isn’t as popular as it should be because it involves video games. Whenever the topic of video games come up, parents are always thinking “too much screen time, lack of physical activity”. However, this begs the question, is screen time always bad? After all, can’t we learn from watching television? I know my son’s vocabulary has grown dramatically from watching his shows. So, can video games be beneficial to children?
Well one of the reasons why video game consoles get a bad rap is because they prevents children from doing physical activity. But what if we combined video game with physical activity? What we have then is a combination of fun and engaging activities that help children develop their physical skills. What parent is going to say no to that?
Exergaming is a term that exactly describes what was just discussed. In a study that examined the benefits of exergaming[ii], it was found that when children are engaged in exergaming, their caloric expenditure and heart rate increases, their coordination improves, their self-esteem and self-efficacy goes up, and their interaction with their friends and family members increases. Not only were there social and physical benefits, but children were also found to have better moods, more motivation to do other physical activities, and increased cognitive functioning.
Another study has shown that exergaming contributes to children’s daily moderate-vigorous physical activity, light physical activity, sedentary behavior, and energy expenditure in comparison with traditional physical education.[iii]
There is no question that children love to be engaged in an activity that they find fun and exciting. This is one of the reasons why video game consoles such as TekyGo! are so popular. Games are designed to be presented in a way that children can relate to, whether it’s the character in the game or the activity involved in the gameplay. According to Work Bank Collection of Development Indicators (2005), 99% of households in Canada own a television. What better way to utilize this tool that we all have in our homes and use it to motivate children to move?
3, 2, 1, TekyGO!!
[i] World Bank Collection of Development Indicators. (n.d.). Canada – Households with Television. https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/households-with-television-percent-wb-data.html
[ii] Staiano, A. & Calvert, S. (2001). Exergames for Physical Education Courses: Physical, Social and Cognitive Benefits. Child development perspectives, 2011-06, Vol.5 (2), p.93-98
[iii] Gao, Z., Pope, Z., Lee, J.E., Stodden, D., Roncesvalles, N., Pasco, D., Huang, C.C., & Feng, D. (2017). Impact of exergaming on young children’s school day energy expenditure and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 6(1), 11-16