Those of us who were lucky enough to get one of thefirst video game systems and play the game Pong all remember playing long hourswith family and friends in the living room. Video games have come a long waysince then, but still require a lot of living room time, most likely on thecouch.  This has led to very sedentarylifestyles for children, yet a new form of gaming is beginning to emerge, thatbeing Exergaming.

Exergaming combines physical activity with videogames, changing the way games are played by incorporating full body movementsin order to progress through the game. Because video games have been a part of children’s livessince they were born, it only makes sense to incorporate physical exercise intogame play.  Video games may have been acontributor to childhood obesity over the years but they can also helpcontribute to the decrease of childhood obesity.  Schools are beginning to recognize the addedbenefits of incorporating physical exercise with video games, in fact accordingto a study conducted by Pediatrics titled Prevalenceand Correlates of Exergaming in Youth published October 1st2012, “Exergaming at school is associated with improvements in academicbehavior and achievement.” Furthermore the study says, “Exergaming may helpincrease physical education participation and decrease sedentary time in youthand especially in girls.”

Sachem School District composing of Long Islandresidents in New York is one of the largest school districts by population inthe state and they recently purchased a 32 multiplayer iDANCE, similar to DanceDance Revolution, to share among the district. Stephanie Macintosh, the administratorfor federal funds and research and development of Sachem said after receivingthe Exergaming system, “We love this system because it is not your typicalvideo gaming experience. The kids are truly exercising unlike with a Wii orKinnect. We all felt these workouts.”

Sachem,recognized for their continued success in bringing new technology into theclassroom, prides itself in being one of the nation’s first to incorporateExergaming as a means of physical education. It is critical for schools acrossthe nation to evaluate how important physical education is in school and lookinto alternative ways to get children across the country moving again.

InNovember, Sachem School District is hosting a conference expected to draw over800 people in which they will showcase the iDANCE Exergaming system along withother new physical education models which they hope other schools will soonadapt.  The conference is being held onNovember 6th 2012 and more event information can be found at www.ow.ly/ewo0z .Are you making a difference in your community? I invite you to attend in orderto see for yourself how beneficial Exergaming is in the academic setting.