Exergames: an innovative practice to stimulate physical activity among young people

Physical inactivity among young people has emerged as a significant concern in public health, with the World Health Organization identifying it as the fourth major risk factor for mortality. Despite the known benefits of physical activity, many young individuals fail to meet recommended levels, a trend exacerbated by declining activity levels during developmental years. Addressing this challenge requires innovative intervention strategies that not only engage but also sustain interest in physical activity among children and adolescents.

One promising avenue for promoting physical activity is through active video games (AVGs) or exergames. These games offer a dual benefit of encouraging physical activity while fostering social interaction among peers, a crucial aspect of adolescent development. What sets AVGs apart is their adaptability, allowing players to tailor intensity levels and program choices to suit individual preferences and skill levels, thereby reducing boredom and enhancing adherence.

Research indicates that AVGs are not only feasible and engaging but also fun. They can be seamlessly integrated into various settings, including schools, homes, and community centres, making them accessible to a wide range of individuals.

Schools, as primary venues for promoting physical activity, play a crucial role in this endeavour. However, traditional physical education classes alone may not suffice to meet daily activity recommendations. Extracurricular activities, including AVGs, offer additional opportunities to engage students in physical activity outside of the classroom.

AVGs represent a new frontier in promoting physically active lifestyles among youth. They not only increase energy expenditure but also cater to children’s enjoyment of video games while promoting health-enhancing behaviours. By offering both competitive and non-competitive settings, AVGs accommodate diverse preferences and motivations, whether children seek to improve fitness or enhance motor skills.

While AVGs cannot replace traditional forms of physical activity, they serve as valuable supplements, particularly in reducing sedentary behaviours. Integrating AVGs into after-school activities, such as tournaments and fitness clubs, allows for sustained engagement and awareness of the importance of physical activity.

In conclusion, exergames have the potential to revolutionize how we approach youth physical activity promotion. By harnessing the appeal of gaming technology, we can inspire a generation to embrace active lifestyles, paving the way for healthier futures.

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