Wednesday, June 20, 2007

NBC features Senior XRGamers!

6-20-07: NBC picked up on the SBSun's article about seniors and exergaming ( and wanted to do a segment for the health section in "Today in LA" on KNBC so they made the journey out to our neck of the woods. Thanks to Erin Haugh and Paula De Silva for helping to spread the word among their senior network. Linda and a group of seniors from the senior center at the Redlands Rec Center was there, as well as a group from the Joslin Senior Center. Also, a number of my senior patients from Beaver Medical Group were there as well. We really appreciate all of these folks showing up for this shoot. Many were interviewed and we'll see them on the news next week!

The event turned out very well, and it was neat to introduce exergaming to this population who I believe can really benefit from this because exergaming is a social thing, gives them obvious physical benefits, AND it also helps to stimulate the brain--something that is needed if you want to limit your risk of getting Alzheimers, dementia, etc.

Check out the pictures of this first-ever event! As for the taping, I'll post it here as soon as I know when it will air (sometime next week, between 6:20 and 6:40 AM during the health section).

Corey gives a tour to the seniors before the NBC crew arrives.

Paula DeSilva, of the SB Dept of Public Health, speaks with the producers of NBC, Yvonne and Andrew.

Getting a B-roll tight shot of the Wii controller, being held by XRtZ employee Vicky's grandfather.

Nicholas Costas attacks the Makoto for the videographer!

Isometrically strengthening those muscles (and brain) on the Powergird Exerstations.

Cruising on the Gamebikes playing a variety of PS2 games. Who said seniors can't drive?

One of our biggest cheerleaders, Zone members Linda Melzer (owner of Minute Man Press in Colton), hopefully will get her 5 seconds of fame on the AM news!

Having never played tennis before, this lady started to pick up the game pretty quickly.

Mrs. Costas shows good form on the Trazer while scoring goals.

The newbie Wii player recruited another person for doubles tennis!

Protecting herself from the ninjas on the Eye Toy Play 2.

Charter member Aleta (on left) and her 2 friends enjoy some healthy snacks after getting their workout on the exergames.

Hey, who let this senior in and how did he get a shake? Ok, he wasn't there with the senior group, but he is a senior and he came all the way from MI...not to be in the NBC shoot, but because he's our (and Dr. Knowlton's) dad! He's here for the month to rehab from his stroke (we work him out at the Zone and Drayson Center) and was one of our first senior xrgamers, using the Eye Toy at home.

Stay tuned for more info when we find out when it will air!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Senior Bowling League on Wii

6-7-07: You have to check out this short video clip of a senior bowling league on the Wii!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Peek into the future: Senior XRGames!

6-5-07: Erin H., from the San Bernardino County Dept. of Public Health, invited me to speak during the last class of her 6 week senior program at the Community Senior Center. Here is Erin giving a nutrition lecture on eating healthier.

When it was my turn to speak, I first started with why it was important to exercise, and then went into the new form of exercise called "exergames". After that, we divided them up into 3 groups so they could play the 3 exergames I brought and set up.

Here they are reading the instructions to Window Washii on the Eye Toy.

Once he figured out how to play bowling on the Wii, this gentleman started knocking down spares and strikes. Check out that great form!

Being a lefty, we adjusted one of the "Mii" characters so he could golf and again, once he figured it out, he could do it without any guidance from us.

We had the seniors sit on a chair while they did the 10-second Dash on the Xavix box. Some of them got into the 80's!

This lady had a difficuly timing the roll and release in the Wii bowling. I told her to follow the movements of the ghost-like character on the screen and she said, "I can't see it!" No wonder! (Maybe Nintendo needs to make a "senior option" where you can darken the character....)

I told her to address the lane like normal (that's why you see her left hand holding her imaginary bowling ball), then take a normal swing and release the trigger to release the ball. She rolled her first strike!

This lady employed a "push" technique to roll the ball. She was able to get some strikes and spares this way!

Once most of the seniors went next door for lunch, the staff from the SB Sun newspaper tried out the games themselves.

Now they want to do a field trip to the Zone so they can try out more exergames. How cool is that? I emphasized how exergames not only benefit their physical health, but also stimulates their mental/cognitive health as well (good for Alzheimer prevention!), so they get a double-benefit. Plus the social benefit--you should've seen them cheering and clapping each other on!

Soon, we'll be hosting the first-ever Senior XRGames. Who said video gaming was just for kids? I can see them challenging their grandkids on these exergames.

Exergaming in New Orleans!

5-28-07: Right after Memorial Day, I flew to New Orleans for the Amer. College of Sports Medicine's annual conference. Our research collaborator, Dr. Bryan Haddock, had 3 of his students (L-R: Julie, Sarah, Andrea, and Dr. Haddock) from Cal State San Bernardino. The 3 girls presented a poster there on research they did at the Zone. Very nicely done!

Conference attendees stopped by to ask questions about exergaming on their poster. Most had never heard of this form of physical activity intervention!

Besides getting a lot of great info and making neat contacts with quite a few interested folks, I was able to meet a real Olympian--Bruce Jenner, the '76 gold medalist in the Decathalon! He gave a great motivational speech and it was neat to talk to him in person. (He has 10 kids!)
Made lots of great contacts with those who are interested in exergaming so I look forward to increased collaboration and research in exergaming!

Sports-specific XRGaming Workouts

5-28-07: Julia (aka Jules) is our new personal trainer at the Zone. She has worked on putting together sports-specific (b-ball, v-ball, swimming, baseball, etc.) workout programs using our exergames. Since one of Redlands Swim Team's coaches, Coach Vicky, works for us at the Zone, she helped Jules put together a workout program for swimmers. (Soon, other students wanted to know how they could get in and how thety could change their lifestyle..

Here are two shots of Coach Vicky leading Summer (in black) and one of her best friends, Natalie, going through a couple of the exercises (Summer swims for RST under Coach Vicki).

You'll notice that they're using the Makoto and Sportwall in a way that probably wasn't thought about by by Makoto and Sportswall.

Stay tuned for more sports-specific XRGaming workouts with our personal trainer Jules!

Defending exergaming dissertation

5-24-07 Tammy Young, a DrPH student at Loma Linda Univ., successfully defended her dissertation on exergaming in an afterschool program.

The room was filled with teachers and fellow students, along with the 3 of us who were in her diss. committee.

After we, her committee, met in private, we soon congratulated her and said she had passed that "last" hurdle. (Not countingn her true last hurdle of getting her manuscript ready for binding and an article submitted for publication!) Here's a shot of Tammy's diss committee. From L - Helen Hopp-Marshak, Tammy, Kiti Frier, and myself (Ernie).

Congrats to Dr. Tammy Young (in just a few days!)! We look forward to more great exergaming things from her in the future!

MPower Zone: Premiere of Fibro movie

5-12-07 On Saturday afternoons, we will have MPower Zone meetings that are free to the general public. For this MPower Zone, Zone member and good friend, Maria Cruz, organized and presented a premiere showing of a fibromyalgia film. This showing coincided with Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, which also happened to be on May 12.

Here Maria is giving some background and sharing about her own fight with fibro.

The group enjoys a very well done movie, the first of it's kind on fibro.

After the viewing we had some light refreshments (all healthy stuff, of course!) and talked with the attendees. Overall, Maria did a great job organizing and running this program. Thanks Maria!

Wii comes to the Zone!

5-5-07: The Wii is finally in the Zone! While speaking at the AAHPERD conference last month, someone in the audience heard me lament that I couldn't find a Wii to buy since Dec. She passed it on to the PR Agency of Nintendo, Golin Harris, and next thing you know, we had a Wii sent to us!

They have asked us to do research on the Wii so it can be included in the list of activities in the President's Challenge (, a free online program where you can log your exercise and earn points towwards a gold medal. We will be starting that research soon, so stay tuned! Have a doctoral student already lined up for it. ;-)

In the meantime, the Zone members are enjoying the Wii. Here in this picture, Leroy and Josh play tennis while Jake looks on.