Innovation That Matters

Gyms for kids use gaming to keep them hooked

Work & Lifestyle

With growing concerns of childhood obesity, keeping kids fit is on the minds of many parents. Keeping it on the minds of kids may be more of a challenge. Fitness franchise NexGym seems to be on the right track with Exergaming—a hot new exercise concept that combines video game technology with calorie-burning workouts. Billed as “The Next Generation in Fitness for Kids,” NexGym’s virtual reality-inspired workouts are geared with the interests of children ages 6 to 14 in mind. Video games are wired to fitness equipment, making the experience both mentally and physically interactive. Kids can race bikes through lunar landscapes, sharpen hand-eye coordination with intergalactic hand-to-hand combat or participate in virtual pro sporting events. More than 20 games are available. Additionally, NexGym offers interactive classes in sports, dance, karate, hip hop, yoga and more, some of which are available for kids as young as age 3. There’s also a morning drop-off just for preschoolers—a definite hit with busy moms and dads—and parent-child music classes suitable for infants on up. NexGym’s staff of certified personal trainers can even customize programs to help children polish their fitness skills. They also offer an innovative program for children with special needs. And, like any good kids’ franchise, of course they do birthday parties! With the continued success of niche gyms, further expansion into the children’s market is a worthy and potentially lucrative enterprise. NexGym franchises are currently only available in the US, but the concept could be reproduced just about anywhere, using widely available video game systems such as Nintendo’s Wii and Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution. (Related: Being space for little monkeys.) Spotted by: Carol Margolis



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