Exergaming: The New Way to Get Active
One of the biggest problems afflicting our youth in America today is obesity. However, these children are not only overweight they are dangerously overweight. Technology has become increasingly easier to access and the amount of video games, movies and television shows being created has promoted a more sedentary lifestyle to kids at a young age. Once you realize just how problematic being obese can be for children its natural to wonder what we can possibly do to reverse this. School is the number one place where kids can get physically active in a safe environment through physical education classes and recess. However not every kid loves to play sports or is considered to be athletic, so those kids often do not get the same amount of physical activity that their more athletic counterparts get. There is a surprising solution that can solve all of these problems and it is called exergaming. This new form of physical activity called exergaming can be utilized in American schools and help alleviate childhood obesity.
Exergaming is a fairly new concept, and it stands for exercise gaming. This new gaming experience combines the technology aspect that kids are fond of and physical activity. Exergaming requires the kids to physically interact with the game by moving their arms, legs or in some cases, their entire body. Dance Dance Revolution is one example of an exergame. “Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) combines dancing, which involves agility, balance, and cardiorespiratory endurance, with energetic music and visuals, which capture children’s interest and promote a health-enhancing level of PA for fitness.” One of the reasons kids find exergaming to be fun is because they find the gameplay to be more engaging than the typical methods of physical activity we are used to.
Physical activity is not easy for all kids especially in a group setting such as physical education. Many children experience anxiety or low self-esteem because they constantly compare themselves to the more athletic kids. These feelings are especially apparent when playing games such as soccer or baseball where some of the kids have been specifically trained in that sport. While it is understandable for some kids to be reluctant to participate due to these confidence issues it ultimately does affect their health and sometimes it can be in major ways. To combat this problem utilizing the exergaming within physical education classes can make physical activity more accessible and enjoyable for all types of students. Exergaming is fairly simple and does not require a high athletic ability to be able to effectively play and win the game. This allows for students to be more equal in their abilities and helps build up confidence.
In addition, exergaming can be used anywhere and at any time. Seeing that exergaming is meant to be used indoors it is not dependent on the weather and therefore can be used whenever and wherever as long as there is electricity. This type of gaming can be a great substitute for indoor recess or physical education class because it allows the students to still get their energy out and get active without having to brave bad weather. In addition, for families that can afford it they can even incorporate these exergames at home as well. They do not require much space and can be easily played inside the house.
In addition, exergaming also gives students more motivation than some of the more typical physical education activities. A study was done involving two different physical education teachers who implemented exergaming within their classrooms. Overall, throughout the study both the teachers and the students reacted positively towards the exergaming. The teachers both noticed that motivation in the classroom was at an all-time high. “It was really highly motivating for them; they were really into exergaming. I thought that, depending on what station they were at, the engagement for all of them was almost equal, it didn’t matter what station they were at, they were all excited.” Being able to have high scores that can be beat within the game is one reason why exergaming helps motivate students. They continuously want to do better and therefore put in more work and increase their physical activity. In addition to motivation the students also showed a lot of enthusiasm when they saw improvement in their performance on the games.
Another interesting thing about exergaming was that gender played no role in both enjoyment of the game or the amount of physical activity that they got out of it. When it came to testing out a bunch of different types of games it was found that both boys and girls enjoyed all of them equally. In addition, it was found that regardless of gender more than fifty percent of the students saw an increase in physical activity while playing the exergame. This was surprising because when it comes to most things there seems to be some sort of divide between boys and girls however the fact that both genders were able to equally enjoy exergaming makes it the perfect thing to utilize in physical education.
The issue of physical activity is a huge one in America today. Kids do not play outside or do as many physically demanding activities as much. Having unlimited access to technology such as iPads, iPhones and television have promoted sedentary lifestyles in children. It is recommended that kids get at least sixty minutes of physical activity a day however more and more kids are missing that mark. “Research indicated only 42% of U.S. children aged 6–11 years and 8% of adolescents participated in the recommended 60 min of MVPA per day. Schools reach nearly 95% of children in the USA and are important venues to promote weekday PA participation.” Even just the community that the child is from can play a huge part on whether or not they will get enough physical activity. Some communities have many different programs that kids can participate in such as sports teams or classes such as dance or gymnastics. However underserved communities do not have these opportunities and rely almost exclusively on school to provide physical activity opportunities. Being able to have exergaming equipment in schools can be an answer to help provide physical activity opportunities to every type of student no matter their gender, athletic ability or even where they reside.
Gao, Z., Pope, Z., Eun Lee, J., Stodden, D., Roncesvalles, N., Pasco, D., Huang, C. C., & Feng, D. (2016, November 24). Impact of exergaming on young children’s School Day Energy expenditure and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels. Journal of Sport and Health Science. Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254616301181
Quan, M., Pope, Z., & Gao, Z. (2018, September 25). Examining young children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviors in an exergaming program using accelerometry. MDPI. Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/7/10/302
Sheehan, D. P., Katz, L., & Kooiman, B. J. (2015). Exergaming and physical education: A qualitative examination from the teachers’ perspectives . Journal of Case Studies in Education, 4, 1–14. Retrieved March 7, 2023,
I am honestly not very confident with this writing piece. I want to know what I can do to improve it and I want to know if this is how a definition piece is supposed to be done.
You’re OK, Sunflower. You’ve gathered important information here, and you’re dispensing it along with your analysis in a reasonable fashion. What you HAVEN’T DONE is provide readers with the guidance they need to see the goal as they approach the goal. Without that, they’ll find something else to do.
What are you defining?
What are the characteristics of whatever you’re defining?
To be honest, we probably don’t know what Exergaming is off the bat. That might be a worthwhile candidate for Defining.
Better yet: why do we need a definition of Exergaming? Because its characteristics are just what this world needs at the moment!
So . . . what if . . . instead of spending your first paragraph convincing us that inactivity has made our youth fat, you let us know there’s a THING that meets all the qualifications needed to trim those kids down to fighting weight and get them fit?
You might argue that you get there, in the last sentence of your Introduction: exergaming reduces childhood obesity! But that’s CAUSAL, isn’t it? You haven’t told us what it is about EG that qualifies it as the solution. Ready?
Slight detour while we eviscerate your first paragraph. This will be brutal. I hope you’re ready.
Obesity is one of the biggest problems afflicting our youth in America today.
—Good. We’ll spend a word or two on that.
Technology has become increasingly easier to access and the amount of video games, movies and television shows being created has promoted a more sedentary lifestyle to kids at a young age.
—OK. So obvious it doesn’t need a sentence, but we’ll sneak in that claim in a word or two.
To some, obesity may not seem like it is that big of a problem and does not have that many consequences, however obesity can cause cardiovascular disease and diabetes in children as they age.
—People who think “obesity isn’t that big a problem” are not worth our attention. But we will mention the severe consequences of obesity.
However, these are just two things obesity can cause and once you realize just how much obesity can affect our children’s futures it’s natural to wonder what we could possibly do to alleviate this problem.
—Very wasteful. You’ve named the real problems. Why bother with lesser consequences?
—Good point: we want a solution.
School is the number one place where kids can get physically active in a safe environment through physical education classes and recess.
—Intriguing idea. Let’s use it. But not like this. Kids who are active DON’T NEED exergaming at school. Our target beneficiaries are kids who WON’T MOVE unless they’re compelled or bribed to do so.
However not every kid loves to play sports or is considered to be athletic.
—Right! Those kids.
Utilizing exergaming in American schools can help alleviate childhood obesity.
—Well, yeah. You could probably make that claim in the very first sentence and not get any pushback. Why invest a paragraph getting here?
You don’t provide any evidence for your claims, Sunflower, but frankly, you don’t need to. They’re generally accepted. You could, though, and the results might be very persuasive.
One in five American children is obese; not just overweight, but dangerously overweight.
Another one in five is merely overweight and could use a little help controlling their health regimen. The other three are probably getting enough exercise. But for their own good, 40% of our kids should be compelled to engage in schoolday physical activity that does not require them to be athletically gifted.
Exergaming could provide stigma-free, life-saving exercise for the athletically clumsy.
Does this sound familiar? The same technique is described in “The Bobblehead Strategy.” We target a few students who really need intervention and tailor a program to provide them needed services at no cost and without embarrassment.
So, what are you Defining?
You don’t define Exergaming.
You define: the physical activity regimen that could provide positive self-esteem, that would give nonathletic students a chance to excel at a physical activity, and that could be implemented—even mandated—in a school setting to provide body motion to students who don’t ordinarily move enough and whose reluctance to expose their physical awkwardness or lethargy put them at serious health risk.
That activity, once you narrow the range of possible candidates, turns out to be (NOT Dodgeball! 🙂 ) but Exergaming!
Does that help?
Please let me know if this is the sort of feedback that suits you, Sunflower. And, by all means, ALWAYS Reply to feedback. It’s the primary benefit of the course, and I love the conversations, but I tire of them when they become one-sided.
Always available for a Regrade following significant Revision (not furniture-dusting: remodeling!). Thanks!
Thank you so much for this feedback! I find it all to be extremely helpful and really put into perspective how I can write my argument and make it better.
Regrade please. I would also like to know if I was able to make this more of a definition argument and if it is clear what I am defining.