#45: 🎮 Exergaming, playing your way to fitness
How immersive games can improve our health
💬 In this note:
🎮 Exergaming, Playing Your Way To Fitness
📚 A Court Of Frost And Starlight
⚡️ Let’s Kill Some Zombies
🎮 Exergaming, playing your way to fitness
Globally, 28% of adults and 81% of adolescents (yes, you read that right…81% !!!) are not getting enough physical activity.
Adults are recommended either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week to improve their health
Maintaining and improving cardiorespiratory fitness is vital for longevity and ¼ of the population globally is not even getting close.
How can we change that?
Exergaming is video gaming that requires physical movement in order to play. Recognizable examples are Dance Dance Revolution and the Nintendo Wii.
This fusion of entertainment with exercise has been proven to encourage people to be more active.
Exergames engage players by setting goals, challenging them and providing immediate feedback which can make exercise feel more like the fun of simply playing a game.
If someone enjoys their workout, they will stick to it. Exergaming is perceived as more enjoyable than traditional exercise, and could lead to better adherence to an exercise plan.
Exergames can also facilitate motivation by incorporating progress tracking, rewards, leaderboards and other game mechanics that motivate players to continue to engage.
Exergaming for Longevity
The global population is aging and with advancing age comes muscle weakness, problems with balance, loss of self-confidence, anxiety and depression.
While exergames can have several benefits for all ages, older adults in particular have the potential to gain significant improvements in both physical and mental health.
Exergames can be used to increase body movement, muscle mass and strength in older adults. They also present new opportunities for socializing. Additionally these games can be used for training and rehabilitation of physical function in older adults.
Several exergames have been developed to increase balance and prevent falls.
A study in 2013 looked at Wii exergames in assisted living residents and found that all participants had enjoyable experiences, and they had significant improvement on balance. Participants also reported that they felt their mobility and walking endurance improved and had a decreased fear of falling.
This study supported the idea that Wii exergames are an acceptable, safe and potentially effective approach to promote physical activity in older adults.
Exergaming for residential long-term care
As the population ages, demand for residential long-term care (LTC) a.k.a the “nursing home” will rise. Older Adults residing in LTC are characterized by increasing functional decline, measured by the deterioration of mobility and activities of daily living.
The sedentary nature of life in an LTC can also add to further declines in cognitive and functional abilities.
Exergaming is a possible intervention to maintain and improve both the physical and cognitive health of LTC residents and increase their activity levels.
Residents of LTC often have negative perceptions and view exercise sessions as “boring” or “monotonous” with little interest in participating.
Therefore, there is a need to develop fun and engaging physical activity, and exergaming may have the potential to be tailored to a resident’s interests and needs.
Gaming for Cognition
Any kind of exercise that’s unpredictable, which is called “open-skill” exercise, can improve certain cognitive functions, as opposed to closed-skill exercises on predictable machines.
Exergaming can improve dual-task performance, which is the execution of two tasks that can be measured and performed separately. Dual-tasking appears in skill-based exercises like sports, dance, martial arts and mind-body exercise.
Anyone can benefit from better dual-task capabilities, but research shows that it’s particularly helpful for older adults and people with attention deficits.
What are my exergaming options?
Commercially available gaming systems with available exergames include Wii, Xbox Kinect, and Oculus Rift products.
One high intensity exergaming device is the PlayPulse exercise bike. It combines pedaling with custom built games and has been shown to elicit vigorous-intensity exercise. The PlayPulse bike was shown in a clinical trial to improve peak oxygen uptake (VO2Max), the gold standard in aerobic exercise capacity, after two weekly exergaming sessions over 8 weeks.
Exergaming is an innovative and effective way to promote physical activity and improve health for all ages, and there is an opportunity for much more specific development, especially with games for rehabilitation or tailored to older adult’s needs.
Furthermore, exergaming is an interesting multidisciplinary field which requires a physiologist, behavioral scientist or neuroscientist, rehabilitation scientist and neuromotor control expert contributions.
📚 Book of the Week
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
3 / 5 Stars
Book 3.5 of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, it’s a novella which is roughly a 2 hour read compared to Maas’ usual 10+ hour reads. Not much happened and in my opinion, it can be skipped.
⚡️ Check This Out
🧟 A simple, but super intense zombie game.
The walking dead come at your fast.
….I only made it 1 min and 14 seconds on my first go.
Give it a try and see how long you survive!