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University of South Florida Opens Exergaming Research Lab

The University of South Florida has announced the opening of the XRKade Research Lab, the first university interactive fitness research lab for children, with the aim of offering new and innovative ways of combating childhood obesity, such as exergaming.
The XRKade Research Lab, the first university interactive fitness research lab for children, opened on January 8 at the University of South Florida with the aim to offer new and innovative ways of combating childhood obesity, such as exergaming. Officials note that the lab is the result of a partnership between the university's School of Physical Education, Wellness, and Sport Studies and iTECH Fitness of Denver, Colorado. Other similar facilities, such as NexGym and Dr. Ernie Medina's XRtainment Zone, have also established themselves as proponents of exergaming, offering healthy exercise routines and options in lieu of traditional workouts. The lab features numerous technology based activities for children, including Konami's Dance Dance Revolution, as well as the X board, which simulates snowboarding and skateboarding while improving muscular strength and endurance in lower leg muscles. In addition to helping to keep kids fit, another key reason for the lab is to further the actual scientific study into the benefits of exergaming, an area within which much work is yet to be done. The XRKade Research lab will enable university researchers to study and learn more about how technology-based interactive fitness can help combat childhood obesity and improve the physical activity levels of American youth. “These are fun activities for kids and have become part of our American culture," said Stephen Sanders, director of the USF School of Physical Education, Wellness and Sport Studies. "Video games are not going away, but the Exergaming movement suggests that children can become more physically active and reduce obesity levels and still play video games." Sanders added: "Games require that children must be physically active in order for the game to work. For example, the faster a child pedals the game bike the faster the car will go on the video screen. Or, the more a child jumps while wearing the Cybex Trazer belt the more points he/she can score in the video game. The physical activity possibilities are endless."

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