Fitness club merges video games and exercise

Posted: Updated:
Wed. Weight Loss: Exercade

PHOENIX -- Video games are becoming more and more popular, especially among kids between the ages of 9 and 15.

Some experts say the trend could have detrimental effects if something doesn't change.

The child obesity rate is skyrocketing as more children turn to sedentary means of entertainment, but one Valley fitness club thinks it may have found a solution.

"We have a trend going where the kids don't have anywhere to go," Ginger Van Patton said. "We're so afraid to let our kids go out and go to the park and play and so for that reason we end up keeping them at home."

Folks at Camelback Village are concerned about the future health of our children.

"We know that by the year 2010, 50 percent of children are going to be overweight," Van Patton said.

So a month ago they opened a new facility designed to attract children between the ages of 9 and 15. It's a workout room with a twist.

"We've found a way to make that crossover and make that communication between sitting on the couch and playing video games and getting off the couch and playing video games," Van Patton said.

The new room called Exercade incorporates video games to get kids active.

Eleven-year-old Noah Zweiback frequents the Exercade room while his mom works out in the gym.

"He loves it!" Kimberly Marshall said. "Needless to say it's a child's paradise, I think."

The room features the Nintendo Wii, an interactive video game system, Dance Dance Revolution and a sports wall -- all of which require the kids to get up and get moving.

"I think bowling is one of my favorites," Noah said. "Golf is really fun, but putting is really difficult with the sensor thing."

"It has a bit of the physical in it and yet it has all the thrill of the video games as well," Marshall said.

"We like to think that it's the answer for the 9- to 15-year-old kids to try and get them busy and get them off the couch," Van Patton said.

Besides building good fitness habits, some say it also helps build good social skills.

"They get a chance to meet with other kids that are interested in playing the same kinds of games that they are," Van Patton said.

A trained professional oversees the room at all times so parents are able to get in their own personal workouts.

"The people that we have working in here are people who love to play these games as well," Van Patton said. "So if a child was to show up and there wasn't anybody to play with them, that person who is in charge loves to jump in and play with the kids as well."

That's something that brings a sigh of relief to many parents, who frequent the facility on a regular basis.

"It's nice to know that I can be doing my workout and to know that he's happy and stimulated," Marshall said.

You do need a family membership at Camelback Village to use the facilities. For more information, visit .