Get Going With Video Games

Active video games with boxing and dancing help use up energy

(RxWiki News) Have you watched those DDR'ers lately? The arcade game where individuals dance on the colored squares to crazy fast beats can get players really sweaty, and this game was just the first to get people moving.

Active video gaming such as the arcade's dance party does increase people's heart rate, oxygen uptake and energy spent, according to a new report.

"Have fun while exercising."

Researchers, led by Stephen Smallwood, MSc, from the University of Chester, England, looked at how the body responds to active video gaming.

Participants included 10 boys and eight girls 11- to 15-years-old who were healthy and recruited from Kirkby Sports College, a secondary education provider in Liverpool, England.

The height, weight and body mass index (BMI) of each participant was recorded.

They had used a webcam-style sensor device and software that allows the player to interact directly with the game without a game controller.

Researchers found that Dance Central and Kinect Sports Boxing increased the amount of energy burned by 150 and 263 percent respectively.

Average heart rates were 118 and 131 beats per minute for the two games, which was 53 and 70 percent higher than the resting heart rate.

Playing the boxing game had participants exercising the most with boys breathing 302 percent more than when they were at rest.

And compared to traditional video gaming, the dancing and boxing games burned 103 and 194 percent more energy.

This means that pliers burn an extra 172 calories per hour played.

The authors said it is not likely that playing video games by itself is enough for children to get the recommended amount of physical activity for, but games do help.

"It appears from the results of this study that Kinect active game play can contribute to children's physical activity levels and energy expenditure, at least in the short term," the authors said in a press release.

The authors note that the study was small, the activities were not done at random and the activities were not done at home, which could skew the results.

But the authors believe there's no reason the results would be different if that was the case.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

The study was published online September 24 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine by the JAMA Network. 

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Review Date: 
September 30, 2012