With the launch of the Xbox Kinect in early November, Microsoft entered the world of motion controlled gaming alongside the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Move. Where the Kinect differs from its competitors is rather than having a handheld controller, a series of cameras in the Kinect track players’ movements which in turn move the character on the screen—in effect making the player the game controller.
Since it’s so new, there are still only a handful of games compatible with the Kinect; however a number of those games are sports or fitness based (much like the Wii’s immensely popular Wii Sports and Wii Fit titles). No matter what system you use, motion gaming can be a fun way to get exercise into your day and is a great example of the gadgets, gizmos and software available to help develop and/or maintain healthy fitness and wellness habits.
Smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and the Droid by Google can also be great wellness tools thanks to a number of health and fitness “apps” available for download from the iTunes App Store and Android Market respectively (many of the iTunes apps are compatible with the iPod as well). The App Store in particular has apps that help count calories and record the foods you eat, track the number of steps you take or distance you run, and create exercise routines to use at home or at the gym. There are even apps created specifically to help with Diabetes management by logging information on blood glucose, insulin, medications and exercise.
Even if your cell phone isn’t capable of running apps, it can still be a handy fitness tool if it comes equipped with GPS. By turning on the GPS feature while you run, walk or bike, you can keep a record of your activity, plan and track routes, and even create pictures out of city blocks. In addition, there are a number of websitessites that can use GPS data to calculate the distance traveled and elevation of your route.
Do you use these or other similar tools in your fitness routines?(Information reviewed by MGH Diabetes Center)