Simple Suggestion: Turn Computer Labs Into Exercise Rooms

from the just-a-modest-proposal dept

The question of obesity in America has been a popular topic lately, especially among a younger generation that finds themselves spending plenty of time sitting in front of computers. While new studies have shown little evidence to link technology to obesity, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be working on ways to fight obesity with technology. We've already seen the game Dance, Dance Revolution turned into exercise equipment for gyms -- and even an insurance company that will offer cheaper policies to kids who play the game. However, on college campuses it looks like there's a simple thing they can do which solves another problem as well. We were just reporting that the idea of the on-campus computer lab is becoming obsolete thanks to thinks like laptops and campus-wide WiFi -- so a number of universities now have to figure out what to do with those spaces. Minnesota State University has discovered that attaching a combined computer and television to exercise equipment makes its students more inclined to work out, thereby solving two problems with one bit of technology. Sure, exercise equipment with TVs are not new, nor are machines with a single computer app -- but fully functional computers attached to the equipment apparently took a bit of hacking by the University's tech staff. However, it's the perfect solution: turn the old computer labs into exercise rooms with such computerized equipment. That solves what to do with the labs while getting students to work out more often -- a perfect, modest, proposal to solve both problems in one simple solution.
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  • identicon
    Phil, 21 Nov 2005 @ 3:21am

    A further improvement

    By linking an exercise bike to a dinamo you can very easily make a generator that could provide the power for your laptop. This would be good new all round. economically, ecologically, and medically. Please start doing this someone!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dan, 21 Nov 2005 @ 6:51am

    Education > equipment

    I don't know if this even really makes sense. Obesity is a physical as well as a psychological problem. If the kid wanted to excercise, they would be doing it. It doesn't require a special room to go running once a day or to do pushups/situps etc.

    Building more places for people to exercise won't do anything except bump excercise eqmt. manufacturers profits up. We should instead be trying to educate children (and adults too, obesity and ignorance know no age boundary) in what a healthy lifestyle consists of: eating healthy and varied foods (chips are fine if you eat them in moderation), physical activity (not necessarily machine base excercise, but sports and other games), and healthy lifestyles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      James, 21 Nov 2005 @ 9:13am

      Re: Education > equipment

      Are you crazy? The reason kids don't exercise is because they would much rather be sitting and playing games. Or surfing the Internet. The exercise equipment is already there, just no one uses it. If you attach a computer to it, people can exercise while surfing the net. Is this a solve all solution? No way! But will it get more people out there and exercising then already are? Yes, without a doubt!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rikko, 21 Nov 2005 @ 9:17am

    Could you do either of them well?

    I can't really picture myself playing CoV or coding or updating my site when I'm trotting on a treadmill.. Things computer generally require your body to stop because you are concentrating.

    That may very well work with Console games but most PC tasks require a lot of mental effort.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Nicholas, 21 Nov 2005 @ 11:06am

      Re: Could you do either of them well?

      That may very well work with Console games but most PC tasks require a lot of mental effort.
      I'm thinking it's more likely that people will be reading web-news and writing emails while biking rather than developing PASCAL. It really wouldn't be that hard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Etienne, 21 Nov 2005 @ 11:06am

      Re: Could you do either of them well?

      It's not so much the mental effort involed.
      It's that almost all exersices required the use of your hands, and when you're doing one that your hands are free you usually need your arms for balance. Now if they were to introduce this with voice recognition software that would be a different story. While I admit you wouldn't be as productive you would still get something done.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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