The Makoto Sports Arena – Benefits

ZigZag launches autism therapy exercise equipment

Fitness equipment with benefits way beyond physical activity is being launched by Exergame Fitness to help children with conditions such as ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism.

Movement is essential to developing health and emotional well-being. But baby seats now move from car to pram to highchair, limiting neurological and muscle development and flexibility, and computer games and television provide a ‘safe’ entertainment option for older children, adversely affecting the amount of physical movement that’s needed to fully develop the body and brain. This lack of natural movement, such as months of crawling and outdoor exploration has lead to a worrying growth in Sensory Integration Dysfunction disorders.

More than just child’s play

The Makoto, a triangular target arena that delivers both aerobic and neurological benefits is ideal for everyone from kids to pro athletes and is expected to be a big draw when it is unveiled at this year’s Leisure Industry Week (25-27 September 2007).

From birth the neurological system needs multiple sources of stimulation to fully develop. Without this mental, physical and emotional development, as well as behaviour is affected, and we are now seeing an increase in ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism, and a range of neuromuscular development and visual-perceptual-motor problems.

The Exergame Fitness Makoto combines exercise with the proven science of Sensory Integration therapy to improve neurological and physical performance. It increases the neurological connections between the brain and the body resulting in improved focus, reaction time and overall co-ordination and performance. A 10-20 minute workout is physically and mentally demanding.

But that’s not what the kids see. They just like the game because it’s exciting and they’re right at the heart of the action.

Every game is different and accuracy counts as the arena scores the number of targets hit in the allotted time, as well as showing an average reaction time. Players can also challenge their focus and concentration skills by playing “Sudden Death”, where the game ends as soon as a target is missed.

Phil Lawler is Institute Director at PE4LIFE, an organization dedicated to inspiring active, healthy living by advancing the development of quality, daily physical education programmes for children in the US, where schools, YMCAs and community recreation centers are anchoring their youth fitness facilities around the new Makoto arena. He said: “Whether you’re trying to combat national epidemics like obesity and ADHD, doing serious sports training or just providing a game which is good exercise, Makoto is a winner.”

The mind is in a game, the body is in a workout

In the Makoto arena the player is in a competition of three against one! The player stands in the triangular arena, facing one of the three six foot steel towers, with the other two towers at either side, appearing in the peripheral vision. Each tower has ten targets and any one of these thirty targets will randomly activate.

The roar of a jet announces the start of a session and an explosion of lights and vibrant tones will draw the player’s attention to the active tower to search for the light, stretch and strike the target with the hands, feet and/or staff as quickly as possible.

A second tone confirms a point scored and another explosion of light and sound begins, leading the player to lunge across the arena bending to strike the next target. As quickly as a target is struck another one activates! The entire body has to move, lunging, stretching, bending, twisting, burning calories rapidly – until the final target’s hit and the score appears.

Next generation computer games that make you sweat

Editor’s note:

The Makoto is used by the 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, the Denver Nuggets basketball team and the Air Force for Special Forces training, as well as many other professional athletes.

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