Dance away childhood obesity

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 27 2014 12:01:46 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 28 2014 06:20:00 AM EDT
BATON ROUGE, La. -

Can you hula, dance, or box your way to a better body? Kids are "exergaming" all over the world. These are exercise video games that get you up and moving! Sales are projected to reach $40 billion by next year, but that’s not the only impressive number being totaled by these games. Pounds are also falling off teens struggling to lose weight.

“Because it's fun, it'll help me stick to exercise,” said exergaming user Tiffany Roberson.

Exergaming is Roberson’s solution for dropping a few pounds. She’s a high school senior and participant in a study at Pennington Biomedical Research Center focused on the impact of dance exergaming on overweight and obese teen girls.

“We'll be able to tell whether gaming actually affects their weight or their health,” explained Amanda Staiano, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Now, Staiano wants to find out if exergaming can become a new tool in the fight against childhood obesity.

“We find, especially with African-American girls, that dance is a fun way to get together and often times forget that they're exercising because they just enjoy the dance and the movement,” Staiano explained.

When it comes to burning calories, how do these pulse-pounding exergames stack up to regular exercise?  A moderate three-mile per hour walk burns 120 calories per half hour.  Dancing with a video game burns 159 calories per 30 minutes.  Boxing burns 216 calories and tennis burns 159 per half-hour. Bowling and golf burn 117 and 93 calories every 30 minutes.

Like most teens, Roberson doesn’t like traditional exercises, so now she’s committed to dance her way to a healthier life.

"I just want to feel healthier,” Roberson said. “I think it will help me in every aspect, like school and how I feel about myself.”

Doctors say it’s not just about exergaming, but the intensity at which you exergame. Just like traditional exercise, if you don’t put in the effort, you won’t see the results.  

Additional information:

Losing weight and playing video games might not sound like they go together, but you can lose pounds just by adding dance video games to your life.  Playing video games and dancing makes you forget you are actually exercising.

Doing 30 minutes of a dancing game burns roughly 159 to 200 calories.  Increasing your playtime up to an hour and you’re looking at burning about 400 calories playing a fun video game that doesn’t even feel like working out. Now, which games you can add to your exercise routine? Here’s a list of some of the best games for weight loss.  These will get your heart pounding, your muscles working, and your body sweating.

  • Zumba Fitness – This game burns calories just as well as any of the real classes do and you will be learning steps commonly used in Zumba classes.
  • Just Dance 2 – This version comes with over 40 new songs.  It burns a high number of calories and even provides some toning benefits. Up to four people can play, and you get to laugh at your animated friends in this sequel.
  • EA Sports Active 2 – This game lets you create your own workouts to target upper body, lower body, or both.  It also lets you track your progress with the 30 Day Challenge.
  • Gold’s Gym Dance Workout – This game is an ideal option. Before you start each song, it gives you an estimate of how many calories you will burn during the dance.

(Source: http://www.fitnessblender.com/v/article-detail/Can-you-Lose-Weight-Playing-Just-Dance-/4m/)

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