Definition – Sunflower

Exergaming: The New Way to Get Active

Obesity is one of the biggest problems afflicting our youth in America today. 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. 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. 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. 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. Utilizing exergaming in American schools can help alleviate childhood obesity. 

This idea may seem impossible at first when considering the fact that video gaming itself has been one of the causes of children living such sedentary lifestyles. However, exergaming requires the kids to physically interact with the game by moving their arms, legs or in some cases, their entire body, because of these elements’ exergaming would be the perfect addition to a physical education class.  One of the reasons why using exergaming in an educational setting could be beneficial is that exergames cater towards a child’s interest in technology while also getting them to participate in physical activity. Dance Dance Revolution is one example of exergaming that is being utilized in schools. “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.” These days kids tend to find games such as these to be more engaging than the typical games we grew up playing in physical education class. One of the reasons kids find exergaming to be fun is because they find the gameplay to be engaging. 

Another reason kids may find exergames to be more engaging than the usual games you would play in physical education is because of their level of athleticism. Not every kid is good at playing games such as soccer or football however exergaming is meant for kids of all athletic abilities. Many kids have confidence issues or can become anxious when they are forced to play sports games against kids who know what they are doing. Allowing kids to play these games that you do not necessarily have to be athletic to win helps build kid’s confidence in themselves and make them want to engage in physical activity.

In addition, exergaming can be used anywhere and at any time. Exergaming is not dependent on the weather and therefore can be used whenever it is needed. 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.

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 these underserved communities.


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

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

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, from

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