Exergame: Active video games can inspire exercise

Exergame: Active video games can inspire exercise
Courtesy: Westend61 | Brand X Pictures Via Getty Images

Playing active video games can help with fitness and motivation levels, researchers have reported. It's not always easy to find the energy to go for a run or hit the gym.

But here's the good news for those who want to get moving but don't know where to start - playing active video games can help with fitness and motivation levels.

Researchers from the University of Georgia have reported that "exergaming" using games like Just Dance, Kinect Sports, and Zumba Fitness World Party can boost health.

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"I see exergaming and technology-enhanced exercise as a stepping stone," study co-author Sami Yli-Piipari said. "It's the first step in the right direction, especially for people who are not involved in any kind of exercise."

For the study, the researchers followed 55 people whose daily physical activity was below the recommended 150 minutes per week. Participants were randomly assigned to either exergame or participate in traditional aerobics classes three times a week for six weeks, with their enjoyment and motivation levels monitored throughout.

While individuals assigned to the traditional classes worked out harder than their counterparts in the exergaming group, the "exergamers" felt high levels of satisfaction and a sense of autonomy over their exercise regimen.

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"When an individual feels autonomous, they're more likely to exercise or exergame on their own. They feel ownership over what they are doing, and they're doing it for themselves, so it's more likely they will keep up the activity," the expert continued. "When you are buying games for your children or for yourself, try to buy games that have some activity in them. If you try to force your children to be active, they may do it because you're telling them to. But the likelihood they continue to be active when you turn your back is low."

Full study results have been published in the ‘International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology’.

(Cover Media/Reuters)

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