Xbox 360 Kinect and Barefoot Exercise

Will The Kinect Make Me Healthier? Week 10

Yup, we are still working out with the Kinect. It's been 10 weeks now and we're at the point where we are examining the habits that have developed during this "get healthy via video games" experiment and looking for ways to step it up.

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One of things that has been tried over the past few weeks is adding shoes into the mix. Coming from the working out with the Wii world, exercising barefoot was a requirement (for the Wii balance board) and it was something that we carried over into our Kinect routines. Since the Kinect does not require that you use the device while barefoot it seemed only logical to see what sort of benefits if any would occur by adding shoes into the mix.

In our home, shoes off indoors is the norm and it felt quite a bit weird to be working out in sneakers in the living room. It also felt like there was more noise made during the workout which does not exactly spell great things for the downstairs neighbors.

All in all the results of my "shoesperiment" seem to be a bit mixed. While I do feel like I am handling the hurdles better (less ankle pain) in Kinect Sports, I don't quite feel as agile of a dancer (and believe me I need all of the agility I can muster) in Dance Central with my sneakers.

After coming up with my conclusions post experiment, I decided to do a little digging to make sure that my decision to skip the shoes while exercising was not going to be harmful to my feet and joints. Surprisingly in a 2006 study conducted by Rush Medical College in Chicago and published in the "Arthritis and Rheumatism" journal, researchers found that peak joint loads at the hips and knees for osteoarthritis sufferers were significantly reduced for the 75 barefoot people who participated. The results of this study along with my own experiences with barefoot and sneaker video game exercise have convinced me to (with the exception of hurdles in Kinect Sports) ditch the shoes during active gaming.

The fact that I can get a great workout while barefoot and in my own home makes working out something that can be done spontaneously without any planning which means it happens more often. So far I am still enjoying working out at home with the Kinect and have not once shed a tear for missed gym time.

How do you prefer to exercise while at home? Am I missing out by not using sneakers with my Kinect?

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Weeks 1-9 with the Xbox 360 and Kinect:

(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho and Flickr member Chumley80 licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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Tech, Gaming, Healthy Living

Joelle loves technology and making things and is in an almost perpetual state of problem solving. She's quite fond of airplanes and coffee and is pretty sure she will eventually read all of the books in her library.