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Local kids encouraged to get active with Elephant Sportwall

Central London's first Sportwall - a computer game-inspired technology - has been installed at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre.

Sportswall


Fusion, the not-for-profit operator of leisure and healthy living facilities in Southwark, has invested more than 15,000 in the Sportwall, which uses lights, sounds, and hand-eye co-ordination in the same way that a computer game stimulates the children. However, instead of pressing buttons sat passively in front of a screen, children participate in the variety of games by throwing, kicking, or hitting objects at the wall as the game requires.

With nearly one in seven of 5-16-year-olds now classified as obese, Fusion is taking innovative measures to help schools in the borough motivate students to take an interest in sport activity. The Sportwall can be used in PE lessons as a fun alternative to more conventional exercise.

“When trying to encourage children to exercise, we are competing against Playstations, TVs, and DVDs, so what we offer needs to be appealing and entertaining," says healthy lifestyles manager Yvette Nevrkla. "The Sportwall is an extremely innovative piece of equipment that will help change children's perception about exercise and encourage them to get off the couch and into the sport hall.”

The Sportwall consists of 8ft x 4ft computerised panels which light up and make noise when triggered. The wall is pre-programmed with more than 30 games that involve children extinguishing the lights with footballs, bean bags, batons, tennis balls, and even their hands, at close or long range.

Sportswall


Physical activity such as relays, shuttle runs and obstacles can also be incorporated into the games to get the kids even more active and can be tailored to time available. This means that the number and variety of games that can be played is only limited to the session leader's imagination.

In addition to getting children physically fitter, the Sportwall significantly improves hand-eye co-ordination, balance, agility, focus and concentration. When children play games on an individual basis, they are encouraged to work harder to beat their best score, while team games reward co-operation and teamwork and help children to bond with their peers.

The wide variety of light and sound programs are also compatible with coaching mainstream sports such as softball, netball, tennis, football, and cricket. Fusion has trained its staff to take the sessions that incorporate ready-made lesson plans for Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the national PE curriculum.

Teachers from more than 30 schools in Lambeth and Southwark attended an open day at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre which enabled them to try out the new technology for themselves.

Fusion is also developing a programme of sessions where members can either drop their children into Sportwall activity classes while they exercise at the centre or even get involved with the sessions themselves in adult and child sessions.

For booking enquiries the leisure centre can be contacted on 020 7582 5505.

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