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Tech Beat: Exergaming
7/9/2004 4:00 PM
By: Noah Robischon

Just because you play video games doesn't mean you have to be a couch warmer.

There's a new trend called exergaming that combines physical activity with digital entertainment.

One of the most popular examples is Dance Dance Revolution. To play this game, you dance in time to the steps displayed onscreen using a special floor pad connected to a PlayStation 2 or Xbox.

As the levels progress, the music gets faster, and the workout gets more serious.

People have dance danced away more than 100 pounds.

For proof, log on to http://www.getupmove.com/, where you can read a testimonial from Tanya who shed 45 pounds in the first six months of her Dance Dance Revolution workout, without changing her diet at all.

The latest version of the game, called DDR Max 2, is available for around $40 and the separate dance pad costs $39.

A more specialized exergaming apparatus is the KiloWatt Game Controller, which can be found online at http://www.powergridfitness.com/.

This upright exercise machine, which can be connected to any game console, has a steel platform base and a shoulder-height game controller or joystick.

When you push the buttons on the joystick to play a game, the KiloWatt responds by pushing back in the other direction. The harder you play, the faster the onscreen action and the better your workout.

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Tech Beat

Video games are helping people shed those extra pounds. Noah Robischon explains.



This is a good way to build muscle, if you can spare the $699.

A slightly less expensive option is the Cateye Interactive Game Bike, which can be found on the Web at http://www.cateyefitness.com/.

This stationary bicycle connects to a PlayStation 2 console and lets players control the action on screen by pedaling and steering.

The Cateye works with most any racing style game by translating the speed of the pedaling into the RPMs of the car or motorcycle on screen. The price of the Cateye is not advertised on this homepage, but it is available for around $350 dollars.

Another exergaming option is EyeToy Groove.

This is a dancing game similar to DDR, except that instead of a dance pad on the floor, it gauges your moves using a camera that sits atop the television.

The object of Groove is to swing your arms in the air and try to hit the icons on screen in time to songs by Madonna, Kool and The Gang, and Elvis.

The EyeToy camera and game are available for about $50.

Later this year, a new Xbox release called Yourself Fitness, on the Web at http://www.yourselffitness.com/, will offer players a personalized regimen culled from 600 different fitness programs, including yoga, Pilates and muscle training.

A virtual trainer on the screen will even recommend recipes, meal plans and shopping lists for optimal health.



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