Sports simulations can give students a real workout

The Edmonton Journal reports that a Canadian educator has undertaken an experiment to answer an intriguing question: Can video game-based exercise be as good as the real thing? Greg Chin, a science and physical education teacher at Archbishop Joseph MacNeil, decided to find out. He took his Grade 8 students to the gym recently, where they compared heart rates from regular exercise against simulated activities on the Nintendo Wii video-game system. Chin says early results from the test are unexpected. Students ages 13 to 15 should be getting their heart rates up to around 180 beats per minute, he says. After playing some of the games, his students had heart rates ranging from 140 to 170 beats. "I was surprised at some of the heart-rate readings," he says. He won’t have final test results from his experiment for another week, but he suspects there are benefits, albeit limited, to introducing video-game exercise into the school curriculum. "It would at least allow you to maintain your current fitness level, which, for some of the kids, is better than doing absolutely nothing," he says, noting that motivating students to be active is a challenge in today’s classrooms…

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