Graduate leads research in 'exergaming'
An MSU alumna is bridging the gap between the fitness and video game industries.
Lyndsi Johnson graduated in 2004 with a double major of business management and corporate fitness. She started on the women's basketball team for three years, leading it to the national tournament her senior year.
Johnson moved on to Arizona State University, where she earned a master's degree in exercise and wellness. Her research interest was alternative modes of physical activity.
Johnson and an associate decided to fuse physical fitness to video gaming.
"Instead of always blaming technology for inactivity, why can't we create a technology that helps induce activity," the Minot native said.
For their master's thesis, the pair measured the energy expended playing the video games Dance Dance Revolution and EyeToy: Kinetic. Their "exergaming" research demonstrated the potential for hybrid fitness programs.
Using seed money from Arizona State, the partners created FITTmaxx, a company that offers fitness workouts in downloadable formats for media players, cell phones, PDAs and personal computers.
Digital workout programs won't replace fitness professionals, she stressed. The programs target consumers who don't go to gyms or work with personal trainers. They feature cardiovascular workouts for people who exercise at home.
While her partner runs the business, Johnson concentrates on fitness education. She teaches part time at Mesa Community College and at Arizona State, where she instructs corporate fitness majors.
"My focus has been on helping professionals grow for this industry," she said.
Johnson eventually hopes to earn a doctorate and teach full time at the university level. The Gilbert, Ariz., resident said Gary Leslie and Terry Eckmann inspired her while at Minot State.
"I consider her my closest mentor," she said. "Terry has a lot to do with the things I'm doing now. We still keep in contact."