Exergames as Effective as Traditional Physical Activities
A study in Games for Health Journal investigates whether there is a difference between exergames and traditional physical activities. It turns out that student’s burn the same amount of energy during exergames compared to traditional physical activities. But there is an important difference: they enjoy exergames more.
- Students enjoy exergames, such as “Wii Sports” more than traditional physical activities.
- They perceive traditional physical activities as harder than exergames.
- However, they expend the same amount of energy during exergames compared to traditional physical activities.
- For sport educators, it’s worth looking at ways to integrate exergames into their physical education program, as these games are more enjoyable and equally effective.
Is there a difference between exergames and traditional physical activities?
29 young adults (mean age: 26 years; 52% male)
Students were randomly assigned to play the exergame “Wii Boxing” or to punch a heavy boxing bag for 30 minutes. They were instructed to exercise at an intensity they could maintain for the entire half hour. During the exercise students’ heart rate and energy expenditure were measured. Afterwards they were asked which exercise session they found harder and which exercise session they found more enjoyable.
Facts and findings
- Students enjoyed the interactive video game “Wii Boxing” more than the traditional physical activity (punching a heavy boxing bag).
- However, they perceived the traditional physical activity as harder compared to the video game.
- No differences in energy expenditure were found between the video game and the traditional physical activity.
- Students who punched the heavy boxing box for 30 minutes had a faster heart rate than those who played the interactive video game.
- Critical note: This study only investigated 29 young adults; the conclusions may not hold for all young adults.