Eat & Move-O-Matic

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Using exergames at home

As part of a research grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Exergames Unlocked team has ongoing research on the impact and implementation of exergames with different audiences. The team has employed an action research model in which it has awarded mini-grants of games and equipment to a wide variety programs, including schools, community centers, and youth and senior programs. Each of these programs employed console-based interventions. A central focus of the Exergames Unlocked project was to identify and document what worked and what didn’t to investigate how exergames could be used more effectively. The mini-grant studies were not designed to yield quantitative data on specific impacts of exergames, but to provide case studies as to how they were used, and document perceived benefits by program leaders and to provide recommendations for others in similar situations.

Using Exergames at Home

Exergames enable players to exercise when and where it is most convenient, the home. Some home exergame players have even documented their game-based weight-loss success stories through many outlets including online blogs. For example, the “Losing Gamer,” documented her 25-pound weight loss over a six-month period through her blog, To keep her engaged, she used several different games—dance, action, and fitness games. Home-based exergaming offers several benefits, such as flexibility, daily activity, and multi-age or multi-generational play. The playing field is leveled and players of all ages can compete equally. Perhaps most importantly, home-based gaming provides a physically active option that families can do together.

Recommendations for Home Use

Like any physical activity program, it is still possible that users will experience a drop off of activity after several weeks. Exergames can be fun and engaging and by recognizing the need for variety in game play, families can benefit from them long-term.

  • Investigate rental programs to try out games before committing to purchase.
  • Set activity goals for daily or weekly exercise, and include exergames as an option for that.
  • When playing exergames, remember the importance of moving your body as much as possible during exergame time.
  • Encourage collaborative play (family play time, gaming parties, etc.)
  • Find ways to document and chart progress because this can enhance motivation and adherence.

For more case studies and recommendations read:

Chamberlin, B., Maloney, A., Gallagher, R. R., & Garza, M. L. (2013). Active video games: Potential for increased activity, suggestions for use, and guidelines for implementation. Serious games for healthcare: Applications and implications (pp. 191–212): IGI Global.

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Funding Information

© 2013. NMSU Board of Regents. All rights reserved. This project was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the National Research Initiative (Grant #2008-55215-18837).

About Us

The Exergames Unlocked project includes a multi-state team of accomplished media education researchers, exercise physiologists, medical professionals and doctoral students. Contributing members are researchers in their fields and have helped launch the use of exergames as tools to combat obesity in their communities and beyond. New Mexico State University researchers and their partners have been funded to research the impact of exergames, develop specific recommendations for exergame use, and implement exergaming programs. As part of that project, this website provides access to resources based on research, sample projects, and input from the exergaming community. For more information, contact the project director: Dr. Barbara Chamberlin, Professor, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service
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Why Exergames Unlocked?

Why Exergames Unlocked? Exergames are videogames that encourage physical activity. Here, you’ll find the best and most effective exergames, as well as strategies and recommendations on using them with different audiences and in different locations.