How the Latest Video Games Are Making People Healthier

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

natural weight lossIt used to be that we exercised all the time. We walked, we carried heavy things, we did chores all day and tended farmland. Now most of us live in urban centers. For many, making a stop at the gym either before or after work commitments has become the only form of exercise. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this approach — it’s just that the pace of life often makes it impossible to fit the gym in for some people. It can be very easy to fall off the exercise bandwagon — despite having the best intentions!

If this happens to you and you’re looking for a way to get some exercise on those days where you find yourself at home in your own living room, why not try a little “exergaming?” What could be better than playing a few video games and benefitting from a little natural weight loss all at the same time? Some popular games, such as “Wii Fit,” have become impressively interactive, tracking your movement and allowing you to simulate various sports through a sophisticated controller.

Skeptical about exergaming? Here’s some scientific proof that playing fitness video games really could help you get in better shape. Researchers at the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Southeastern Louisiana University, set out to determine the effectiveness of Wii games in regards to health and fitness benefits.

Eight healthy young women completed a preliminary trial to determine VO2max (the volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity). The researchers then had the women play a fitness game during two separate trials. During each session, participants played levels of the fitness games for 10 minutes each level. One session involved beginning and intermediate hula, and the other session involved beginning and intermediate steps. VO2 was measured continuously and rating of perceived exertion was assessed at the end of each game level.

Which fitness game offered the lowest and highest levels of V02 and exertion? According to the researchers, the lowest fitness rates occurred in the beginning step game and the highest values occurred during the intermediate hula game. Respiratory exchange ratio was significantly higher in the intermediate hula than beginning hula game, but wasn’t much different between step game levels. The intermediate hula and step games produced the greatest energy expenditure, with an equivalent effect of a walking speed of bout 3.5 miles/per/hour.

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Follow this health advice and consider exergaming as a viable alternative when it comes to getting daily exercise. For those who run out of time to participate in any exercise outside of the home (or have lost their motivation temporarily to get out of the house!), this kind of fitness training could be the way to go.