Monday, March 4, 2013

Fitness 2.0 - What Is It And What Does It Mean To You?

The following was written by Jeffrey Dammann from a company called Exergame Fitness. He explains what Fitness 2.0 is and the importance for fitness advocates to understand the concept:
Fitness 2.0 is an ideology, an ideology which has emerged out of the advancements we have made as a community, which is constantly working and creating one system that works, which leads to a new and improved system that works even better. This process in the health and wellness world has lead to something called Fitness 2.0.  But before I can explain it in more detail, it is important to frame what Fitness 1.0 is, or was, and how it differs from what Fitness 2.0 has become, and what it will be.

The fitness world has gone through many changes over the years, we can look back at the early days in the 1970’s when weightlifting was gaining popularity, where the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger entered the public spotlight, with his huge championship winning physique.  Back then the mentality in building muscles was eating raw eggs, and lifting weights everyday.   All they had primarily were dumbbells, bench presses, and a track to run around in circles.  These original pioneers were building themselves based upon trial and error, changing diets, routines, and implementing ideas which were shared from their counterparts. Did it work?  Yes. But did it work well and was it easy for the everyday person?  Probably not.  Which is why most people were left intimidated when they would go to the gym.  By the time the 1990s came around, the fitness world had taken what was learned from years past, and combined clinical research and nutritional information to provide people who wanted to attain health and wellness, with resources that would help them achieve their goals.  You could now go to a bookstore and find an array of books giving you a whole bunch of diet programs, and workout guides. These resources were helpful and helped many, with the motivation to do so, achieve their health and wellness goals.  Jump forward to the 2000’s, and you have huge health clubs going up, stacked with treadmills, ellipticals, weight rooms, and cardio classes.  There are personal trainers that help you create a nutritional plan, and help motivate you through a workout program.  This model is what we have seen for the last 10 years. It has worked for many, but still, not everyone finds it easy.  This is what Fitness 1.0 is. Fitness 1.0 is traditional, and static. Fitness 1.0 is all the past 30 years of the health and wellness world.   Well no longer is Fitness 1.0 going to rule the scene, because over the last couple years, technologies have advanced, and have begun to integrate with the fitness world. Enter Fitness 2.0.

Fitness 2.0 is here and it is giving people access to the very best in information from experts, and using the very best of science to create the ultimate health and wellness resource.   It comes through your mobile devices, such as your smartphone or tablet, or you can access it on your laptop or desktop.   It connects through the internet, into the cloud, where everyones information and data can be stored.   Fitness 2.0 reaches down into every piece of equipment within your health club, from the treadmills to the ellipticals, to the weight lifting machines.  Fitness 2.0 is Exergaming, where gamification and data collection built within the club equipment brings your individual scores, and assessments into a comprehensive, easy to understand dashboard.  This dashboard monitors your health, your calorie intake, and your fitness goals. It helps motivate you, and it also rewards you.   There are now virtual trainers, whom are real people who could be on the other side of the world, who monitor your progress, create workout programs tailored specifically for you, and motivate you, all through your mobile phone or tablet.  These were all things that were virtually unthought of when we entered the new millennium.

What is Fitness 2.0 in more detail?  It is web and mobile enabled which means you can access it anywhere.  It is geographically independent, allowing for virtual communities and support groups to emerge.  It is data driven, where now you can monitor and assess your progress individually, or as a group.  It is expert led, where you have access to the very latest in research, nutritional information, and workout programs. It is socially supportive, the latest research shows that people who are surrounded by people who are in the same like mind, are able to benefit more from their shared goals.   It is affordable, no longer will there be $200 dollar an hour trainers, everything will be low cost, or in some cases free.  Fitness 2.0 allows you to be anonymous, no longer will you be intimidated by the big bodybuilder in the corner. Companies such as ours brings this available to the world.  And finally Fitness 2.0 is fully integrated, everything from the workout machines to the activity monitors that you wear on your wrist, to the heart rate monitors that are around your chest.  All this data collects into one system, which takes care of you and everyone else.   This is what Fitness 2.0 is, and we hope that you becomes leaders of change to bring this new innovative way to health and wellness be brought to every single community across the world.

To find out more about Fitness 2.0 and Exergaming, please visit here

Friday, January 18, 2013

A former student of mine, Zach Foder, has made a significant difference in student learning in his physical education program. Please read the following from Zach and I strongly encourage you to view his website and click on the active gaming link below!

This is what Zach wrote:

Simply put, I love my job. 

Every day I am able to show others what my students have accomplished and strive to plan more interactive and engaging lesson plans. Often times, more than I expected, simply telling others about what we have done at the Immokalee Community School does not provide justice for the dedication, hard work and commitment of my students to be healthy and physically active for a lifetime!

As a graduate of the University of South Florida (12') and a first year student at Boise State University (M.Educational Technology) I wanted to enter my profession with passion, excitement and experiences that many students and parents had never even dreamed of.  The opportunity to develop an Active Gaming Lab (AGL) was one of those such opportunities!  Video games and exercise?!  I was motivated to create developmentally appropriate experiences during physical education that could answer that such games and active technologies CAN be used to teach students about the concepts state and national standards adhere to.

I was fortunate enough to transform my space into an active gaming, health and fitness educational learning center!  Students are given the opportunity to explore the various fitness concepts like muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance by actively participating in games like Just Dance, Wii Jog, Gamercize, Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Cyberbike!  The level of student engagement and active participation has increased dramatically and the students are excited, motivated and eager to be physically active!

The AGL has provided my physical education program with a safe learning environment that fosters critical thinking, exploration of health and life science concepts, physical fitness concepts, S.M.A.R.T goal setting and an unmatched level of fun and excitement!

The ability to use the AGL as a supplementary tool during physical education has worked to increase student motivation in the classroom, provided opportunities for students to use various forms of appropriate technology like APPS and the iPad while simultaneously developing the passion and excitement for physical activity that the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NAPSE) strives for!

Working in accordance with my budget, I was dedicated to work, save and implement many active gaming technologies of my own...whatever is necessary to keep the AGL running.  With the ability to combine personal and work equipment, the opportunities are endless for the AGL!  In addition to applying for grants, many of the events held at the Immokalee Community School like the Annual Immokalee Fit Kids Marathon, etc are used to fundraise and maintain the AGL.  Sharing my excitement about the new active gaming educational center at the Immokalee Community School is a top priority in order to continue to grow, develop and explore the new and cutting edge tools that can be used to educate my students.  

Students are excited, more now than ever, to be a part of the Immokalee Community School physical education program and participate in the active gaming educational center!  It is my hope to continually fundraise and do everything necessary in order to provide the students with the tools they need to be physically educated individuals.  

If you would like to see the Immokalee Community School Active Gaming Lab in use please do not hesitate to visit my website @ and click on the Active Gaming Link!

I am confident that we as physical educators, can and will, keep active gaming alive and thriving in our schools! In addition to regular physical education, active gaming has enriched my program and ensured that my students are prepared and willing to be physically active for a lifetime!  

Zach Fodor
Physical Eduator
Immokalee Community School
Immokalee, FL

Thank you Zach for sharing your experience with active gaming with us!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Active Christmas Gifts!!!

It is that time of year again - Christmas! Everyone knows this is the busiest time of the year to purchase gifts for family and loved ones. I posted a blog this time last year about healthy gift ideas. I feel like the topic is worthy to discuss again this year or anytime the Holidays surface. Children all over the country enjoy playing video games. We know that. We also know that spending over 40 hours a week infront of a screen is taking away from our children being physically active - leading to a rise in obesity levels. If parents can do anything for their children this year it is to replace sedentary gifts with active gifts. For example, purchase games compatible with Microsoft Kinect, Nintendo Wii, Xavix, or a variety of other residential games on the market. Teachers need to educate parents and try to infuence them to make healthier decisions when gift buying. If parents replaced some of the sedentary video games with active games they are already making a conscious, healthy decision for their children and family. We shouldn't let Christmas be a time to be unhealthy. Get up and move! Use this time to be active together as a family!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fundraiser for Exergaming Research

A good friend of mine has decided to take a leap of faith, literally, by training to solo sky dive and then taking the big jump on Sunday, November 18th. He is not doing this just as a "bucket list" activity. Richard Coshott, CEO of Gamercize and founder of The Exergame Network (TEN), has decided to dedicate this jump to support quality research for Exergaming. Please read the following blog posted on TEN or visit the website here:


The Exergame Network (TEN) is a not for profit advocacy group promoting exergaming that wishes to give students new opportunities to research this exciting new field. I am raising money by way of a sponsored skydive on November 18th 2012 to provide TEN with funds to support new generation researchers with their study costs into active gaming / exergaming. The skydive is a solo jump, which will take 2 days of training that I will pay for myself. All the monies raised will go directly to supporting TEN's aspirations towards quality research in exergaming. The Exergame Network (TEN) has been long aware that the limitations of exergaming are public knowledge, dissemination, application and study design rather than failings in the equipment and the excellent individuals who deliver the experience to the users. To that end TEN has collaborated to give the top questions, and therefore evidence, required to understand exergaming. We need studies to show positive results in the following studies;

1. Energy Expenditure (absolute or comparative) - DONE
2. Adherence of Exergaming - DONE
3. Positive Behaviour Effects
4. Gateway Effect
5. Comparative Enjoyment of PA
6. Health Benefits of Exergaming
7. Family health benefits of Exergaming
8. Cognitive benefits of exergaming
9. Improved social confidence from Exergaming

TEN will ask for study designs to be submitted for consideration and the best of these will be decided by a panel of experts for funding and support. As indicated above TEN thinks there is more to funding a study than most other foundations - TEN wants the right questions, right design and right approach, so the award to successful candidates will not only be money. TEN is providing the following;

1. Cash for research assistants / buy out from class
2. Exergaming equipment donation
3. Dissemination opportunities
4. Publication opportunities
5. Academic Support and Exergaming Expertise

 Way to go Richard and TEN! I will be posting results as well as pictures of the event soon!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Just Do It! It Is Really That Easy...

Often when I travel to conferences I have the opportunity to present on active gaming. My latest focus has been on helping teachers understand the most appropriate way to implement these activities into their curriculum. I have been positively surprised at the interest I receive from teachers that truly want to step out of the box and incorporate active gaming in their classes. What they do not understand, hence the purpose of this post, is how easy it is to make this step. The first major issue is always about the money. Teachers that do not have funding are discouraged as they think the activities are all incredibly expensive or they have to have a room full of the games. This is simply not the case. 1. The active gaming field has grown dramatically due to the popularity of the industry. Now there are a plethora of games such as the XBox Kinect and Nintendo Wii that are compatible with a lot of popular games. Some teachers have even stated they already have these video game consoles at home and could bring them to class for their students to enjoy. Also, some students have these games and enjoy being able to bring them in to share during class. The most important aspect is making sure they are not just playing the games, but basing the game play on learning objectives. 2. It is certainly not necessary to have a full room of active games. This actually concerns me as many teachers that do have access to a variety of active games do not appropriately implement them. For example, if I am working on a dance lesson, students should not be playing activities such as makoto, 3 kick, virtual bikes, or virtual boxing games. These activities are most appropriate for a different kind of skill development and/or fitness curriculum. Having just one or two active gaming activities is appropriate and provides the fun motivation for children to be exposed to a variety of physical activities. Once again, implementing active gaming into your curriculum can be EASY. You just have to make that step and Just Do It!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Active Gaming Going Mobile?

There are millions of apps available for smartphones today. So many we cannot keep up. Children are learning at an early age how to create/develop new apps - everything seems to be going mobile. Scan coupons, get directions, check the weather, watch television, exercise, or play video games...we are living by our mobile smartphones! There are already several active games created for mobile phones. However, I ran across a company called BitGym and found this idea for exercising using the active gaming concept neat. I encourage you to watch the introductory video (it is very brief). This application is making exercise fun wherever the participant chooses. Teachers, please realize the growing popularity of active gaming should be growing into your classrooms. Children now have opportunities to exercise at home that is fun and convenient. Quality physical education classrooms should be educating children on these types of opportunities to explore to encourage lifelong physical activity behaviors.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Active Gaming to Compliment Fitness Testing?

For years we have been trying to find a more desirable way to test fitness levels in children. When I was teaching in elementary school I can still remember the sighs' coming from the students when it was time to "run the mile". There is really not much teachers can do about this...cardiovascular efficiency must be tested, right? Finally, there is a study that has been conducted that has set the stage for further research and exploration of how teachers may finally have a way to make testing more fun and motivating. You can find the entire blog on the Exergame Fitness website here.

The objective of the study is as follows:

"Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine whether a correlation existed between the scores of the Jackie Chan Action Run active video game, the one-mile run/walk and Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) aerobic fitness tests of the FITNESSGRAM® in order to provide a potential alternative testing method for days that are not environmentally desirable for outdoor testing."

I think this study has many implications for physical education teachers. Not only may this active game be an appropriate method of testing students in the future; but, it may also serve as a great way to help students prepare for testing and improve fitness levels in and out of school. The Jackie Chan Action Run video game is feasible in cost and could serve as a great Christmas or birthday present and most teachers would have the funding to include this game in their curriculum!