Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Trip to the Avatar Fitness Club

By DrFran Babcock

In my First Life I am called upon often to read and evaluate research, and I get to read a lot of it. I was very surprised to find that a study was conducted at the University of Kansas (see reference at the end of this article) using Second Life™ as a support for weight loss. Since the most common resolution for the New Year is to lose weight, this could not be timelier.

 I figure folks are not really interested in me providing details of the research, but I am sure you would like to know what they researchers uncovered. Basically, two groups of sedentary people were put on packaged food weight loss programs. One group had actual face-to-face support in a group and the other group had virtual support groups held in Second Life™ that used voice.  It was found that the face-to-face group lost more weight, but, the Second Life™ group maintained their weight loss for a longer time—in my opinion, a far more important indication of success.

With this in mind I tried to track down support groups in world, and I found an amazing location for all things fitness and health: The Avatar Fitness Club, or AFC.

The Avatar Fitness Club

The club is a project of the Cooperative Extension (news article ). DrFran is quite fit (cough, cough) so she sent Morleena in a skimpy bikini to explore the site. The build is set up to be a virtual health center, and contains aerobic equipment, a weight room, yoga room, swimming pool, and more. She was happy to see that there are actual support groups starting there that are held in the AFC Lounge on Fridays at 1:30 PM SL time. If you are interested you have to IM Jaye Jeffries to reserve a spot. Jaye is in school in First Life, studying Exercise Physiology, so he is a perfect candidate for this kind of venue.

It is true that just having your avatar run laps and lift weights will not do a thing, but wouldn’t it be nice to talk to other people who are working on weight loss while your avatar motivates you to do exercise in First Life?

Morleena ran on the treadmill, swam a few laps, lifted weights, and did a bit of yoga. She didn’t go to a support group, because there was none at the times she was there, but there were a few avatars using the equipment.

So, are you feeling as if you’d like to get rid of those 2013 holiday pounds? A trip to the Avatar Fitness Club might be just the push you need to motivate you to make some changes for your health. I suspect that if enough people join the (free) group, that the owners of the club will add some more support groups. After all, the research does seem to indicate that talking about weighty issues does help keep off the weight.

You can find the Avatar Fitness Club here:

 DrFran Babcock


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