Video gaming is one of the most popular activities kids choose to spend their free time on. According to a national survey conducted by the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) “92% of children and adolescents ages 2-17 play video games” and “…on average, [children ages 2-18 spend] 20-33 minutes a day playing video games.” Many people are anti-video games because it’s a sedentary activity and are correlating the rise in video game popularity to the rise in childhood obesity.

Playing on the Exerbike
Playing on the Exerbike

But what if kids could get the same entertainment value in active play as they do from their XBox? Enter youth fitness gaming. The idea behind youth fitness gaming is engage kids where their interests lie – video gaming – and tie in a fitness component. The most basic idea is a product called the Exerbike where a recumbent stationary bike is hooked up to an XBox and wired so that the user has to pedal to engage their controller to work. There are countless stories of kids coming to their YMCA or fitness center who play on the Exerbike while their parents are working out and end up biking 45 minutes/6 miles while completely engrossed in their baseball game.

idance_YMCA of Norwich
Kids playijng on the iDance

One of the best things about youth fitness gaming is that it allows kids to get used to working out and being at the gym – especially kids who are not into athletics and sports as much. They can play on fitness equipment and immerse themselves in the gaming aspects of it. This helps to form healthy habits and help them transition into the adult side of the fitness center. For this reason, hundreds of facilities – including schools, health clubs, rec centers, and ymca’s – have built areas dedicated to youth fitness gaming. Exergame Fitness, who has been in the interactive gaming industry for 10+ years, helps these facilities customize, design, and install these turn-key rooms.