Fighting Diabetes as Easy as Playing a Game?

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Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Fighting DiabetesIn the latest health news from the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, researchers have delved into the world of virtual gaming and its possible use as a clinical tool.

Over the past few years, virtual games have been cornering a big share of the video game universe. These games are interactive and can require the participant to use their own body. This activity could be something as little as a swing of the wrist to play virtual golf or tennis. Or, it could take as much effort as dancing an intense routine or pulling full punches in a virtual boxing match. While most of these games still don’t qualify as aerobic exercise as far as medical experts are concerned, they do require more activity than traditional video games.

Cue the U.S. researchers who wanted to find out if virtual gaming clocked in enough real-time exercise to help stave off obesity and complications that come from being over-weight, such as diabetes. After reviewing available clinical trials, the research team concluded that results suggest that playing interactive video games uses significantly more energy than sedentary activities and is equivalent to a brisk walk. Of course, these activities don’t reach a level of intensity that would match playing the actual sport — you
have to participate in the real thing to get all the health benefits. Nor do interactive virtual games deliver the recommended daily amount of exercise for children, the researchers say.

However, the researchers did find some support for the use of virtual games as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, regular exercise. This may change in the future, the researchers suggest, as new advances in full-body interaction systems provide more vigorous exercise.They concluded their review of clinical trials by noting that interactive games are already starting to show their worth as a low-cost way to increase exercise participation in persons at risk for obesity.

Keep in mind that real calories can be burned during virtual gaming, although admittedly lower than those burned when playing a real-time sport. Although you will still need lots of regular exercise, virtual gaming can improve your motivation, confidence, and hand-eye coordination — three important factors in enjoying exercise.

Follow this link to find out how “Wii” games could help you if you’re a senior.

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Dr. Richard Foxx, MD

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Richard M. Foxx, MD has decades of medical experience with a comprehensive background in endocrinology, aesthetic and laser medicine, gynecology, and sports medicine. He has extensive experience with professional athletes, including several Olympic competitors. Dr. Foxx practices aesthetic and laser medicine, integrative medicine, and anti-aging medicine. He is the founder and Medical Director of the Medical and Skin Spa located in Indian Wells, California, at the Hyatt Regency Resort. Dr. Foxx is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners... Read Full Bio »