After five minutes of fist pumps, bicep curls and lateral raises, the music shuts off. The computer screen returns to normal and you resume writing the research paper for class. Technology is revolutionizing the fitness industry as computer screens and televisions are replacing personal trainers, and game controllers are replacing weights.
Welcome to the world of wireless workouts.
Dr. Renée Nasajón, a clinical psychologist, is the founder and president of FLOW, a fitness and wellness software program designed for people who spend a lot of time at their desks.
“Sitting down all day is just not normal,” said Nasajón, who completed her training and post-doctoral degrees at University of Miami. “Technology has taken advantage of people’s tendency to be lazy.”
FLOW incorporates fitness into the workroom by utilizing five-minute pop-up videos, with each corresponding to a different muscle group. Nasajón cites studies saying short bouts of exercise have a positive effect in some cognitive functions, including memory, attention and concentration.
“I created FLOW because I needed it myself,” she said. “When I was at the hospital I was moving all day, but once I opened my private practice, I had a more sedentary job and started gaining weight.”
The videos use cardiovascular and strength training exercises that can be performed while sitting at a desk. The program is set to automatically pop up on the screen during the day. It offers nutritional information as well as inspirational messages with the fitness videos.
“FLOW is a reminder of the fact that our body has a need to move,” Nasajón said. “It is a tool to counterbalance the effects of sedentary lifestyle…”
Once blamed for adolescent obesity, video games are fighting back. Nintendo’s Wii offers sporting games that allow players to actively participate, rather than hit a combination of buttons. From golf and bowling to boxing, the Wii workout is gaining momentum. The Daily Record, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, reported that performing 15 to 20 minutes of Wii sports can burn about 130 calories.
Tentatively scheduled for release in 2008, Nintendo will launch Wii Fit, a program that combines aerobic exercise, muscle conditioning and yoga poses with more than 40 types of training activities. Players stand on a balance board to perform movements, and there will be daily tests to track your fitness age and Body Mass Index.
Dance Dance Revolution
Not just for kids, DDR Max allows players to perfect their dance floor moves and focus on their fitness. The game includes an edit mode that allows players to customize their dance routines, and the popular DDR workout mode that tracks calories burned during play.
Workouts are moving from the wellness center to the living room and video games are combating weight gain rather than promoting it. As Americans spend more time at their desks, technology is certainly changing the face of fitness.
Bari Lieberman is the EDGE Editor and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.