Can Active Video Games Destroy Obesity?

Can Active Video Games Destroy Obesity?

Video games are often seen as the enemy. They’re viewed as the evil spawn of technological advancement that transforms children into zombie-eyed, sluggish couch potatoes… Enter active video games or ‘exergames’.

two children playing video games together

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What are exergames?

These are games that turn a sedentary activity into something more physically demanding. These games have built in motion sensors that require players to move, in order to control the game. There are different types of games including dance, tennis or even boxing.

What’s so special about Exergames?

Exergames aren’t like any other old video game. They have been proven to reduce the risk of obesity in children and promote active lifestyle choices. They are basically the all-encompassing answer to good parenting and the superhero of video games!

Playing active video games improves heart health, energy expenditure, hand-eye coordination, night vision and creativity. Such games may help children achieve exercise goals that they may not be able to do in conventional forms.

Poor lifestyle habits formed in childhood are likely to continue through adulthood. Thus, if parents are able to motivate their kids by cloaking the very definition of exercise under the pretext of fun video games, they may just be changing their kids’ lifestyle choices forever. In adults too, active video games may provide a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dreary exercise routine. ‘Family night’ where the entire brood comes together to play games has been known to build relationships and team spirit.

Most popular exergames

The three most popular options are the Wii Fit Plus, Playstation Move and Xbox 360 Kinect. They help you have fun, and break a sweat while doing so! In fact, studies have proven that popular games like Dance Dance Revolution and Sportwall actually burn more calories when compared to walking on a treadmill at 3 miles/hour.

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So is it okay to swap exercising with exergames?

No, exergames are not a realistic substitute for natural exercise. While they are a healthier option to sedentary video games, their role must simply be used to complement real-world exercise routines. According to www.greatist.com – “a study of 13 to 15 year olds revealed that while Wii boxing and tennis burned 174 and 179 calories per hour, respectively, actual boxing and tennis burned roughly twice as many (382 and 318, respectively)”.

This only goes to show that while exergames may promote a healthy lifestyle that includes adequate amount of physical exertion, it is always better to play a sport or join an actual dance class.

So, the next time you see your little ones reclining on the couch and obliterating evil warlords with a joystick, introduce them to the world of exergames. The only villain they’ll be killing this time is obesity.

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