Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Active gaming benefits brain health #exergaming

There have been some mixed results about the effectiveness of basic brain training games and their impact on cognitive function. In general, we tend to see some low to moderate gains in certain brain processes, but they tend to be short lived and typically specific to the type of testing or assessment used.

In this meta-analysis of RCT, the authors found that across the 17 included studies, exergames were found to improve executive function, attentional processing and visuospatial skills in older people and people with neurocognitive deficits.

Let's get playing!

Physically-active video games (‘exergames’) have recently gained popularity for leisure and entertainment purposes. Using exergames to combine physical activity and cognitively-demanding tasks may offer a novel strategy to improve cognitive functioning. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to establish effects of exergames on overall cognition and specific cognitive domains in clinical and non-clinical populations. We identified 17 eligible RCTs with cognitive outcome data for 926 participants. Random-effects meta-analyses found exergames significantly improved global cognition (g = 0.436, 95% CI = 0.18–0.69, p = 0.001). Significant effects still existed when excluding waitlist-only controlled studies, and when comparing to physical activity interventions. Furthermore, benefits of exergames where observed for both healthy older adults and clinical populations with conditions associated with neurocognitive impairments (all p < 0.05). Domain-specific analyses found exergames improved executive functions, attentional processing and visuospatial skills. The findings present the first meta-analytic evidence for effects of exergames on cognition. Future research must establish which patient/treatment factors influence efficacy of exergames, and explore neurobiological mechanisms of action.
Link:  Study suggests active gaming benefits brain health | Alzheimer's Research UK:

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Monday, May 22, 2017

4Active Exergaming at 2017 FIBO

Finnish company CSE has released their multiplatform exergame system 4Active and it was nominated at 2017 FIBO in the Fitness, Wellness & Health category.

I haven't seen much from this company but it looks like one of their systems uses an XBox Kinect to play some customized games while the other system is a multi-player dance game that doesn't have near the development or player status and feedback like iDance by Postive Gaming.

4Active Exergaming: Trendsport virtual fitness games - FIT FOR FUN:

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Zwift exergaming bike

Get cycling at home but with your Zwift bike you can compete with people from all over the world.

Much like the other exergaming bikes reviewed here and here, Zwift allows for multiple platforms, group based rides, virtual simulator, all while connected to your indoor cycle trainer setup such as Wahoo, Tacx, and Kinetic.

Zwift translates your real world effort into speed in the digital one. Your power, measured by the watts you produce, propels you through the digital landscape.
Just like the real world, your speed is adjusted for your height, weight and the road gradient. We even give you credit for drafting.

Zwift review: the return of the home exercise bike:

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gaming Fitness podcast interview on Exergaming

I know this is really old but I forgot to post an older podcast I did back in 2013 with Ben Tyrer for his blog Gaming Fitness. Enjoy!
You wouldn’t expect to hear a fitness game researcher tell you that fitness games might not be for everyone. But Stephen Yang, an adjunct faculty at State University New York Cortland, believes that to be the case.
In this exclusive interview with Ben Tyrer, Stephen explains how the most important aspect when it comes to health is identifying the needs of the individual.
Of course, Stephen is a firm advocate for fitness games, but he says that the focus should be on building a plan that suits the individual’s needs, not just expecting a fitness game to work because you brought it. - Gaming Fitness

Monday, May 15, 2017

Exergaming podcast with Global PhysEd @PhysedNow

I had a great time with @physedNow doing their Global PhysEd podcast using Voxcast on exergaming but it was great to be able to talk about where technology can fit in, compliment, and accelerate learning, engagement, and social growth in the K12 setting. For the past 23 years, I've worked with, researched, and taught about infants, toddlers, children, teens, and now college students, and it was great to be able to draw on my vast experiences and recall some stories and stumbles along the way. We are all learners on this journey of life, discovery, and growth and I was humbled to be interviewed and encouraged them to continue their mission to support other teachers, students, parents, administrators, and the public on the critical importance of creating healthier environments and people.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Can Cycle Exergaming increase Brain Function in Seniors? (Study)

Can cycle exergaming increase brain function in seniors with diabetes? German researchers wanted to know if exergaming was as effective at increasing BDNF levels as a regular cycle ergometer.


  • Similar heart rates but lactate threshold levels were higher in the cycle group.
  • BDNF and VEGF were increased to similar levels post-exercise.

Exergaming Points to Ponder - ExP2P
  • Which gaming platform did they use?
  • Was it one of the cycle exergames or exergame bikes?
  • Did they have social connections to others including in other locations?
  • Were there gamification features like leaderboards, and points and challenges across the individuals?

Effects of Cycling and Exergaming on Neurotrophic Factors in Elderly Type 2 DM
Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are at increased risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases. There is growing evidence that repeated exercise-induced transient increases in neurotrophic factors can augment neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. This pilot study compares the effects of 30-min submaximal cycling with those of exergaming (combining exercise and video gaming) at the same duration and same rating of perceived exertion (BORG RPE: 14-15) on serum neurotrophic factors in 8 elderly non-insulin-dependent T2DM patients (71±4 years) (2×2 crossover design). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 levels were quantified using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. Heart rates were almost equal during cycling and exergaming, while lactate values were significantly higher during cycling (cycling versus exergaming: 3.7±1.1 versus 2.5±1.2 mmol/l, p<0.05). BDNF and VEGF levels were increased significantly post-cycling (+20%,+14%, p<0.05). No other significant pre-post changes were evident. This study demonstrates that acute exercise can increase neurotrophic factors (BDNF, VEGF) in elderly T2DM patients, depending on exercise mode.
Journal link

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Pavlok Shocking for Health or Harm?

Would a slight jolt of electricity help you stick to your good behaviors and avoid poor choices?
Pavlok is positioning itself to be the master trainer and tamer of all unhealthy habits and behaviors. Similar to Pavlov's experiments, you will be zapped with a small current if you commit a bad habit. Friends can even Zap you if they catch you cheating or you can reward yourself if you accomplish your goals.

Will this be the device to get you to a healthier version of you?

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

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