Innovation That Matters

Gyms for kids use gaming to keep them hooked — Update

Work & Lifestyle

Earlier this year, we reported on NexGym—a youth fitness franchise that keeps youngsters moving through video game-inspired workouts. It turns out they’re not the only players capitalizing on kids’ fitness by incorporating video games. Canadian Bulldog Interactive Fitness and Colorado’s XRKade are getting in on exergaming, too. Bulldog Interactive Fitness founder Holly Bond was inspired by her own son’s childhood battle with weight—a problem she realized affected not just his health, but also his self-esteem. That’s why it was such a priority to develop fitness solutions that didn’t leave fun out of the equation. Children ages 3 and up can take advantage of PS2 game bikes, Dance Dance Revolution machines, simulated mountain-climbing treadwalls, circuit equipment and much more, including camps, classes and special team training programs. Customers can purchase single session passes or memberships in increments of three months or a year. Denver-based iTech Fitness launched XRKade with the same idea in mind of making fitness fun for kids by building on activities that already interest them—namely video games. In addition to consulting with a team of seasoned experts and industry professionals, iTech created an XRKade Jr. Board of Advisors ranging in age between 9 and 16 years old. The result? Fitness centers that feature the latest in virtual cycling, snowboarding, climbing, dance, tae kwon do and more. In fact, they might easily be confused as cutting edge video arcades rather than exercise facilities—which is precisely the idea. Franchising and licensing information for both companies is available online, but clearly this is a concept that can be replicated or adapted. An obvious next step might be to let adults in on the fun. It’s hard to imagine exergaming not quickly gaining popularity at any gym—even in office parks or senior living facilities, where a virtual climb through the Alps or boxing match might be just the ticket to inspire a newfound love of fitness! Websites: Spotted by: Darren Baxendale



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