There have been dozens of studies performed on exercise games and their impact as a viable fitness option. Take a look at some of the research and see how exergames have been proven to help YOU:
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EVERYONE: Wii Sports can be as good as or better than walking
A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that exergaming activities such as bowling and boxing on Wii Sports "provide as much or more activity than a brisk or intense walking pace." Twenty-three boys and girls aged 10-13 were studied by researchers at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. They compared the kids' energy expenditure while at rest, while playing exergames, and while walking on a treadmill.
Those tested managed to burn three times as many calories playing the games than they were in a sedentary state, and "the researchers were impressed enough to recommend ‘active games such as DDR or Wii’ as ‘a complement to activities such as walking or cycling.’"1
ADULTS: Exergaming provides a real, fun workout
In a study performed by a professor at the University of Wisconsin, EA Sports Active and it's follow-up game EA Sports Active: More Workouts have met the fitness guidelines set forth by the American College of Sports Medicine. The research showed that the games improved aerobic capacity and body composition if used regularly and in conjunction with an overall healthy lifestyle.
"We wanted to put EA Sports Active to the test to show people that as fun as the programs can be, they're going to give you a real, challenging workout."
- Tarrnie Williams, Producer, EA Sports Active2
SENIORS: Exergaming may be better for your mind
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that participants who exercised using a cycling-based exergame performed better on cognitive (mental process) tests than those who used stationary cycles, and had a 23% reduction in the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.
The study split 79 men and women between the ages of 58 and 99 into two groups, with some performing exergaming on a cybercycle and the others performing regular exercise on a stationary bicycle. The study authors noted that the added mental exercise required for the cybercycles could be the reason for the benefits.
"Navigating a 3-D landscape, anticipating turns, and competing with others require additional focus, expanded divided attention, and enhanced decision making. These activities depend in part on executive function, which was significantly affected."
- Dr. Cay Anderson-Hanley, Assistant Professor, Union College3
KIDS: Exergaming can help in the classroom
A review of exergaming research by Georgetown University mentioned several studies that point to exergaming possibly helping academic performance at school. One study found that "120 third- and fourth-grade students who played a dance-pad game demonstrated improved academic performance and social success." Another study mentioned the benefits of video gaming that are helpful for academic success, including "problem solving, hypothesis testing, estimation, pattern recognition, memory, and judgment."4
KIDS: Dance Dance Revolution helps improve the fitness of children
A review of research on exergames by Dr. Debra Lieberman5 of the University of California, Santa Barbara shows the benefits of active video games for kids and teenagers. Most of the research in the article revolved around Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), a dance video game:
- A study of 22 children aged 11-17 found that playing DDR increased the kids' heart rates, helping them achieve an aerobic workout, even at the easiest levels of the game.
- A study with 35 overweight children in West Virginia aged 7-12 concluded that playing DDR at least five times per week led to the participants feeling less winded, less self-conscious, and feeling more coordinated. Based on these results and the results of other studies, the state of West Virginia had planned to use the game in all of its 765 public schools.