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Carol M White PEP Grant winner Marvin Christley talks about Exergaming

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Carol M White PEP Grant winner Marvin Christley talks about his Physical Education Program with the New Haven, CT School districts.

With over 18+ years as a physical education teacher and over 5+ years as a grant facilitator, Marvin is leading the way to keeping kids active, healthy and fit by introducing a new PE concept called Exergaming. The New Haven PE department received about 1.5 million dollars over three years, to help aid in reducing childhood obesity by increasing movement time. Below is Marvin’s new concept and a interview on his mission to keeping kids in Connecticut healthy & active while attending school.

Our Concept:

I came up the concept for the grant when I first saw this type of equipment at a National convention. Being a gamer myself, I thought this would be a great way to motivate the students who are inactive to exercise. Two of the biggest markets are Wellness and Videogames. The problem today is that with video games, students are becoming less active. In order to combat the increase in childhood obesity I thought Exergaming. Exergaming combines video games with exercise. This won’t solve the problem but it will bridge the gap. The Wii first took off with this type of technology, and now more and more companies are jumping on board.

Program Overview

The program, I created to reduce childhood obesity, is called T.H.A.N.C.S. THANCS stands for Teaching Health and Nutrition Choices to Students. This program was made possible because a very generous PEP grant. The New Haven PE department received about 1.5 million dollars over three years, to help aid in reducing childhood obesity by increasing movement time. Currently we have about 15 elementary – middle schools, up and running with more to come.

The program uses innovative technology to better assess our students and to motivate them to exercise. Some of the assessment technologies that are being utilized are: Heart rate monitors, TriFit machine, Pedometers and handheld palm pilots. Exergaming equipment was also purchased thru the grant. Some of the Exergaming equipment purchased included Dance, Dance Revolution, Lightspace Play Floor, Gamebikes, Nintendo Wii’s, and Xavix’s.

This year we also purchased a cross curricular exercise bike called “The NeuroActive BrainBike by Motion Fitness”. This piece allows you to exercise while playing brain games such as math, memory and other cognitive thinking games. The games are a lot like the questions students would see on the Connecticut Mastery Tests. There has not been one principal who this doesn’t think this is the best piece of exercise equipment. We have also created journals in order for students to track of their own fitness.

“Marvin is taking a leading role in integrating new technology and quality physical education for students in the state of Connecticut. His commitment to making a difference in his community is highly regarded not only locally, but on a nationwide level as well. Marvin is embracing today’s technology to make a healthier lifestyle change, which is exactly what we do here at Exergame Fitness. We are proud to be the main Exergaming supplier for his school fitness concept and our partnership moving forward will only help improve the lives of students in his area” said Ed Kasanders President of Exergame Fitness

Exergame Fitness is a great company to work with. Not only do they have the best selection of proven Exergaming equipment, but the company was more concerned about how to help us out rather than, when do they get paid. This refreshing attitude, along with a great staff made me want to work with this company. I felt like Exergame Fitness shared our cities philosophy in putting “Kids First”!

Overview of New Haven, CT Physical Education Exergaming Program T.H.A.N.C.s:

Name: Marvin Christley

Education: Bachelor of Science from Eastern Connecticut State University 1991, Masters Degree from Southern Connecticut State University 1999

Title: Physical Education teacher (18 years) Grants Facilitator (5 years)

School: Lincoln Bassett

State Committees: Connecticut Fitness Testing Committee, Connecticut wellness Promotion committee, New Haven Wellness committee.

Projects: In addition to facilitating this grant I also helped Dr David Katz create his classroom fitness program “ABC for Fitness”

Companies instrumental in our success: Exergame Fitness and Polar USA.

Grant: Carol M White PEP grant (3 year grant)

Marvin Christley Interview:

MC: Marvin Christley, Physical Education Teacher/ Grants Facilitator, New Haven CT,

Tell us about how you obtained this grant? What is the purpose of it?

MC: When I was first brought, into the central office, my supervisor asked me to facilitate a grant we had already acquired. It was a small grant and only included a couple of schools. The vendor and I decided that if I spent some money on them they would assist with the writing a larger grant. The purpose of this grant was to use technology to better assess our students fitness levels. In addition, I had an idea to use the exercise gaming technology to motivate students to be more active. The goal is to put this type of technology in our elementary and middle schools.

Can you tell us how much you’re raised?

MC: I was fortunate to receive a little over a million dollars, spread out over 3 years

When is this initiative being launched?

MC: I have already begun this initiative and I am now in the second year of my three year grant.

How many Schools are benefiting from your accomplishments?

Currently I have been able to outfit 15 schools with Exergaming equipment. We are planning to add several more schools in the future. Phase one is the impact the elementary and middle schools and phase two is to create the same type of programs in the high schools.

Why did you choose Exergame Fitness USA as your main supplier this year?

MC: Exergame Fitness was able to give us great prices for equipment. They also put us ahead of how quickly they would get their money. Their sales team went above and beyond to make my purchasing job easier.

How did you hear of Exergame Fitness / Exergaming?

MC: I had a friend who had met with Exergame Fitness and he said they are an excellent company. I heard of the Exergame concept when I went to AAHPERD conference, in Salt Lake City Utah. I knew this was the future of adolescent fitness.

What products did you get and how come you chose those particular items?

I purchased several different items from Exergame Fitness. Some of the items that all of the schools received were Gamebikes, Dance Dance Revolution, and Xavix’s. Some schools received Expresso bikes, NeuroActive BrainBikes, iJoy Boards and Wiis. A couple of larger items were purchased to show the future of Exergaming. These items are Dogfight and Lightspace play. The reason I picked these items is because these seemed to be the most fun and give the students a maximum workout.

How has it been working with Keven Courson of Exergame Fitness?

MC: It has been great working with Exergame Fitness Consultant Keven Courson! As I mentioned before, he went above and beyond his job title to make this process go smoothly.

Any future plans for even more expansion?

MC: After I add some more elementary and middle schools to the project, I plan to create a program for the high schools. If ever there was a place where students need some type motivation to be more physically active, it is the high schools.

When did you first hear about Exergaming and why did you choose to implement the products in your school district?

MC: I first saw and heard about Exergaming at a national conference. I thought it would be great in my school district because the majority of our students are not motivated to be active. Students would always talk about various video games and not being physical activity. I thought this would be a great way to bridge the game between video games and inactivity.

What do you see as the benefits of Exergaming for your students?

The main benefit of Exergaming is the sustained level of moderate to vigorous physical activity. To give you an example, one school had a class of 40 plus kids that refused to do anything aerobic in physical education class. After the introduction to Exergaming equipment, you have to beg them to stop. It is clearly a way for kids to have more fun while exercising.

What work have you done to educate your colleagues and other school districts about the benefits of active gaming?

MC: I have made several presentations promoting the “Fitness of the Future”. Two years ago I presented to the governors fitness committee and they loved our direction for motivating our students to be active. Recently I present our program our state annual conference. The reviews were so good that they already asked us to comeback and to make another presentation next year. We are also presenting at the Eastern District Conference and the national conference.

About Exergame Fitness USA:

Exergame Fitness is the global leader in Exergaming products & services including 6 international divisions located in Canada, Dubai, Europe, South Korea and Australia. Primary targeted clients include: YMCA’s, Schools, JCC’s. Park Districts, Health Clubs, Hospitals, Kid Zones, Family Entertainment Centers, Government/VA and more. Exergame Fitness has the largest advisory board in the market designed to test and approve all products. Exergame Fitness provides Facility Planning & Installation, Grant & Funding Assistance, Program Design & Product Training, Turnkey Marketing Support, Free Layout Designs & Concepts, Detailed Programming Curriculums, Finance & Lease Options and more.

For more information, visit or call 1 (877) 668-4664.

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