HEALTHY LIVING: 5 things to know about Meriden YMCA’s fitness arcade

HEALTHY LIVING: 5 things to know about Meriden YMCA’s fitness arcade

MERIDEN — Keeping children active during the winter months presents a challenge for parents. The Meriden YMCA’s fitness arcade offers a chance to keep active in a technologically savvy way. 

Joan Goodman, membership and marketing director of the Meriden, New Britain, and Berlin YMCAs, said the “Exergame Fitness Arcade” at the Meriden Y is an integral part of engaging younger children.


The Meriden YMCA has many community partners such as Napier, United Way, and CUNO, which helped to make the Exergame room a reality, Goodman said.

“We had started a program a number of years ago to fight childhood obesity, that we still run today” Goodman said of the PACE program.

PACE stands for, Physical Activity Changes Everything. 

Goodman said the goal is to help families break the cycle of obesity by providing children and their parents access to the Meriden YMCA in addition to other helpful resources.

The development of the Exergame Fitness Arcade was funded as a part of the PACE initiative.

“We know kids love to play video games, so it was kind of a neat way to get them doing something interactive, but without sitting on the couch,” Goodman said. 

Games and equipment 

Meriden, New Britain, and Berlin YMCA Wellness Director Carrie Marquardt said the Exergame room is geared toward elementary and middle school ages. 

“We wanted to have an option for kids who are too young to be in the Fitness Center,” Marquardt said.

“It’s fun and they don’t even realize it’s exercise,” she added.

There are a variety of activities to choose from such as Dance, Dance Revolution, Wii Fit games, and games played on the Lightspace Wall. 

The Moonwalker machine in the back corner of the room functions like an elliptical and allows children to swing their legs and arms forward and backward.

Another machine with a pendulum-like apparatus simulates snowboarding as children move their bodies from side to side. 

“It engages their core and gets their heart rate up” Marquardt said of the Moonwalker and Snowboard fitness equipment.

How it works

Goodman said the facility is open for use Monday through Wednesday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Any of our members that have a full-facility membership, they can come and use it,” Goodman said.

Parents can use the arcade together with their children.

“If the child is 7-11 years old the parents can sign their child in” Goodman said. 

Parents are able to drop their children off with arcade room staff while they work out.

Fun Days

For a fee, parents can sign children up for ‘Fun Days’ offered at the YMCA when the Meriden public schools are not in session.

“This is one of the many fun things they get to use” said Goodman of the Exergame Arcade.

The YMCA childcare staff accompanies groups of about 10 kids at a time to the Exergame room throughout the day where they participate in cardiovascular and strength endurance training, through play.

For more information about the Exergame Fitness Arcade at the Meriden YMCA, visit

Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris–