Video games to spur you on to fitness

Video games will be used to encourage people to achieve their fitness goals if an Auckland University researcher's trial technology takes off.

Computer Science lecturer Paul Ralph says his team wants to build exercise modes into video games. 

An Auckland University researcher is looking into links between the two. Source: 1 NEWS

"These are modes where the game encourages you to exercise."

The idea is that every step run or every weight lifted counts towards character development in a video game.

Mr Ralph says you come home and write in your e-journal system what you did in your workout. 

The game detects that and next time you load up the game it displays how many health or stamina points you've earned.

The game offers rewards based on the type of exercise completed.

There are already games that get people moving in front of their TV sets but they have their limitations.

"Just think about it right. No one ever got to be an Olympic athlete by waving their arms around in the living room. That's not how people exercise," Mr Ralph said.

The trial technology is being developed as a mod - the sort of thing anyone playing the popular role playing game Skyrim on a PC will be able to download.

The system will initially require on users to manually enter the results of their workout, but later versions could allow data to be to automatically uploaded from fitness bracelets.

"What we're trying to do is explore how we can put exercise modes into lots of different games," Mr Ralph said.