A new type of fitness motivator should be hitting stores in 2008. It's not a new gizmo or gadget promising to erase inches from your waistline, but rather a game, promising to make the whole weight loss feat fun.
The term 'NEAT' covers all physical activity that is not conscious exercise, especially since hitting the gym for a regular workout might be too much to expect for those returning to fitness. These new games will encourage small, everyday lifestyle changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking a few spaces away from a store entrance versus driving around to find the closest spot available.
Here are highlights:
Researchers have developed a computer game that translates physical activity into video games, such as races and logic puzzles. Dubbed Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT-o) games, they can be played on any hand-held personal digital assistant (PDA) with users wearing a lightweight, wearable sensor that detects movement like running, walking, bending over or even foot tapping.
That data is then transmitted to the PDA via a wireless connection, and the player can see his or her game avatar move in real-time to their movements. For example, in the race game, the player's physical activity propels the avatar around the track -- the more active the player is, the faster and farther the avatar goes.
What's more? The tester for the NEAT-o lost 40 pounds in five months! I am all for new ways to get people moving and since we (yes, me included) are all totally obsessed with our hand helds these days, I think the NEAT-o is a fabulous idea. Plus, I love saying neat-o!