Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cardiovascular and Affective Outcomes of #exergaming (active gaming) using Wii

Testing college students using the exergame Wii Sports (Tennis, Boxing, Cycling, and Step), researchers at the University of Florida evaluated energy expenditure and enjoyment against typical treadmill walking and stationary cycling. Participants completed 20-minute sessions for each of the 6 activities but were grouped according to their level of previous exercise backgrounds (high-intensity vs. low-intensity).

Exergaming Points 2 Ponder (ExP2P)

  • Although this study found that boxing was a potentially useful training tool for a CV workout, it fails to address the fact that as a "game" there is not much incentive (or story) to immerse the game player for long periods of time.
  • Higher enjoyment levels was been seen in many other studies, but as mentioned above sustaining these levels and challenging them in a constant state of "flow" is difficult on this platform. This is why we tend to see little changes in overall activity and fitness levels when only using one exergame title.
  • What would happen if you played the games while on a treadmill or cycle? These alternative playing styles would definitely alter the order of the current study's findings and be more in line with some other products like Gamercize. 
Concluding Thoughts
Although studies like these are pouring out over the research literature, we need to really consider alternate protocols that take into consideration the nature in which games are played and the technology that can support theoretically sound research designs.

Click here to explore more of ExerGame Lab's archived posts involving research studies. 

Active-video gaming is purported to produce similar cardiovascular responses as aerobic fitness activities. This study compared the emotional and cardiovascular effects of Wii games with those of traditional exercise in college-aged adults with different exercise backgrounds. Specifically, the percentage of heart rate reserve, rate of perceived exertion (RPE), level of enjoyment, and Positive and Negative Affect Schedule scores were compared between subjects who reported exercising frequently at high intensities (high-intensity exerciser group: age = 20.18 years [0.87]; Height = 165.23 cm [9.97]; Mass = 62.37 kg [11.61]), N = 11 and those who exercise more often at lower intensities (low-intensity exercisers group: age = 20.72 years [1.19]; Height = 164.39 cm [8.05]; Mass = 68.04 kg [10.71]), N = 11. The subjects completed six 20-minute exercises sessions: treadmill walking, stationary cycling, and Wii's Tennis, Boxing, Cycling, and Step. The low-intensity exerciser group achieved a greater percentage of heart rate reserve (a) during traditional exercise compared with that during Wii boxing, (b) playing Wii boxing compared with that for Wii tennis, and (c) playing Wii boxing compared with that when the high-intensity exercisers group played any Wii games (p < 0.05). The RPE was greater for boxing and cycling compared with that for tennis and step (p < 0.05). Ratings of enjoyment and the increase in positive emotion were greater for boxing and for tennis compared with those for traditional exercises (p < 0.05). Results suggest that Wii boxing shows the greatest potential as a cardiovascular fitness tool among the Wii games, particularly for individuals who typically exercise at lower intensities.
Naugle K.E., Naugle K.M. & Wikstrom E.A. (2014). Cardiovascular and affective outcomes of active gaming: Using the Nintendo Wii as a cardiovascular training tool, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28 (2) 443-451. DOI:
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