Exergames for health and fitness: the roles of GPS and geosocial apps

Int J Health Geogr. 2013 Apr 5:12:18. doi: 10.1186/1476-072X-12-18.


Large numbers of children and adolescents in Canada, UK and USA are not getting their recommended daily dose of moderate to vigorous physical activity, and are thus more prone to obesity and its ill health effects. Exergames (video games that require physical activity to play) are rapidly gaining user acceptance, and may have the potential to increase physical activity levels among young people. Mobile exergames for GPS (global positioning system)-enabled smartphones and mini-tablets take players outdoors, in the open air, unlike console exergames, e.g., Xbox 360 Kinect exergames, which limit players to playing indoors in front of a TV set. In this paper and its companion 'Additional file 1', we review different examples of GPS exergames and of gamified geosocial apps and gadgets (mobile, location-aware apps and devices with social and gamification features), and briefly discuss some of the issues surrounding their use. Further research is needed to document best practices in this area, quantify the exact health and fitness benefits of GPS exergames and apps (under different settings and scenarios), and find out what is needed to improve them and the best ways to promote their adoption by the public.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone / standards
  • Cell Phone / trends*
  • Geographic Information Systems / standards
  • Geographic Information Systems / trends*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Video Games / standards
  • Video Games / trends*