Play vs. Exercise

 

"While push-ups and squats are definitely effective, certified eating psychology coach Jenny Eden Berk believes that returning to a childlike state of play will be all the rage in 2018..."(https://www.brit.co/fitness-trends-2018/)

We think so too! SymGym is taking play--the interactivity, the adventure, the FUN, and adding the, until now, missing physical component to give you a workout. 

What is Play?
 
As kids, we exercised all the time. We ran, jumped, crawled, lifted, and threw stuff. But we didn't call it that. We never begged our mom, "can I go out and exercise?". 
                                                       
 We played. 


At some point in time, organized activities, "sports", seem to take over play. And sooner or later, we found ourselves needing "exercise" to stay fit. 


Exercise - "Activity that requires physical or mental exertion...performed to develop or maintain fitness" 


No mention of any kind of fun in there. 


Play - "To occupy oneself in amusement, sport, or recreation."


Our need for play as recreation is still there, just look at the $10.5B worldwide game industry. But it is lacking in physicality. What makes exercise different from play? 


Play is social. Play is social. Play is social. Play is social. 
Exercise for fitness can be a pretty solitary activity; even in crowded gyms, the vast majority of people are on the treadmill or elliptical, with their earbuds in listening to music. Spin classes, and the like, try to bring some sort of socialization to sitting on a stationary bike, but there's none of the social interaction of even a simple game of tag. 

Play is interactive. 
Treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, and weight machines all have one thing in common; all expect you to perform the same repetitive motions in the same sequence until you quit or get fit. With each, there is little variance or any kind of interactive nature. In a simple game of tag, when you're "it" and chasing after your friend, constant changes in direction and speed force you to adapt and interact. This continual interaction keeps the game interesting and prevents it from becoming the drudgery that is the treadmill. 


Play is adventurous. 
We like new challenges, surprises, and plot twists. Look at how popular "adventure" and puzzle solving games are. These concepts are the antithesis of current exercise devices, which advertise "the most workout in the least amount of time", admitting that time spent on them is going to be tedious. 


Play is fun. 
One of the characteristics of "fun" experiences is famous Psychology Professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's, (pronounced "chicks sent me, hi" according to him) concept of "flow" in which our senses and mind are in a state of complete absorption with the current activity. Modern video games are masters at getting players into the "flow", and players happily spend large amounts of time and money for the experience. 

The best part, play is backed by research. Studies have shown that “activity promoting video games such as SymGym have the potential to increase energy expenditure to that of traditional playtime.”  Another study claims that “energy expenditure was at least 51% greater during active gaming than during sedentary gaming, with the studies claiming that such interventions might be considered for obesity prevention and treatment. 

By spending hours on resistance based play, SymGym players can reduce their likelihood of obesity, diabetes, and improve overall health. 

 
Robert Quinn