Physical & Health Education, Sport & Exercise Science

Video gaming to fitness

The prevalence of overweight children and adolescents has increased drastically over the past several decades and the relationship between obesity and sedentary behaviour among children has been well documented.

Activities such as watching television or videos, using a computer, surfing the Internet and playing video games are often identified as being prime causes.

However, the growing popularity of Nintendo Wii, Xbox Connect and other activity-promoting video consoles and games that require energetic player movement has the potential to increase energy expenditure during otherwise sedentary video gaming and may provide a viable alternative to more traditional exercise.

A study due to be published in the July issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, shows that those children who participated in interactive digital gaming activities that feature player movement such as dancing or boxing, increased their energy expenditure to a level of moderate or vigorous intensity.

The authors of the report recognize ‘exergaming’ is unlikely to be the solution to the epidemic of reduced physical activity in children, it appears to be a potentially innovative strategy that can be used to reduce sedentary time, increase adherence to exercise programmes, and promote enjoyment of physical activity.

further reading:
My New XBox Kinect – another fitness option