Abstract

We explore design opportunities for using interactive technologies to enrich group fitness exercises, such as group spinning and swimming, in which an instructor guides a workout program and members synchronously perform a shared physical activity. As a case study, we investigate group fitness swimming. The design challenge is to coordinate a large group of people by considering trade-offs between social awareness and information overload. Our resulting group fitness swimming game, SwimTrain, allows a group of people to have localized synchronous interactions over a virtual space. The game uses competitive and cooperative phases to help group members acquire group-wide awareness. The results of our user study showed that SwimTrain provides socially-enriched swimming experiences, motivates swimmers to follow a training regimen and exert more intensely, and allows strategic game play dealing with skill differences among swimmers. Consequently, we propose several practical considerations for designing group fitness exergames.