Punching to Battle Paunch and to Bridge Health Gap

Researchers from the UK’s Teesside University have developed a modified Wii control system and boxing game in the hopes that it can motivate sedentary middle-aged participants into becoming more active.

Backed by a £200,000 (approximately $311,000 U.S.) grant from the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC), the exergame system eliminates the ability for standard Wii users to cheat by replacing full movements with flicks of the wrist.

The university’s home-grown system utilizes a controller-based sensor in each hand, along with head and chest sensors. The hand controllers are also tied to a belt via a rubber-resistance band, all to ensure players must expend some degree of energy.

The project, which will be tested at the Buff’s Social Club in Stockton and is targeted at members of “workingmen’s clubs,” has a different goal in mind other than just having participants lose weight.

As researcher Dr. Paul Crawshaw explained, “We want to see if we can narrow health inequalities between rich and poor – and between Teesside and more affluent areas – by getting to this hard-to-reach part of society.”

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