“Exergaming”- the rise of virtual fitness and fun
New research from the University of Georgia has shown that “exergaming” and virtual reality games are the perfect introduction to help people become more active.
For most people exercise isn’t enjoyable but exergaming and playing active video games doesn’t feel like exercise. It’s just fun!
Not so sure about Virtual Reality fitness?
Maybe you should book a flying lesson with us on the Icaros (we are the sole UK distributor) and let us know how you feel then...a combination of exhausted and enthused, trust us!
Anyway, this study showed that exergamers felt high levels of satisfaction and a sense of autonomy over their exercise regime.
Sami Yli-Piipari, co-author of the study and an associate professor in theDepartment of Kinesiology in the Mary Frances Early College of Education explains;
“When an individual feels autonomous, they're more likely to exercise or exergame on their own. They feel ownership over what they are doing, and they're doing it for themselves, so it's more likely they will keep up the activity."
“That desire to play might help people dip their toes in physical activity without the pressures or boredom that sometimes come with heading to the gym”, agreed Yongju Hwang, corresponding author of the study and doctoral student in kinesiology.
The study group was randomly selected to either play exergames or participate in traditional aerobic exercises three times a week for six weeks. The exergamers could choose from a variety of games.
Those who did the traditional classes worked out harder than those who played the games. This was probably due to being in a group with someone looking over their shoulder!
Being in a group also made people feel accountable and therefore more likely to turn up to the class.
However, the study also found that the exergamers had a much better time! That, coupled with a sense of ownership over their exercise, led to the study to suggest that the exergamers would keep up their routine long after the traditional exercises have fallen by the wayside. It was also felt that this was a gateway to different forms of physical activity in the future.
One more important factor to come out of the study was that exergaming wasn’t just for adults.
If parents bought activity games, instead of the sedentary seated games, both for themselves and their children, the children would be getting exercise without maybe even realising it.
To force children to be active MIGHT work while you are looking at them but once your back is turned the chances of them continuing will probably be very low - or that was the researchers opinion anyway!
For kids and many adults, playing a video game doesn’t feel like exercise.
"We forget sometimes that it's really hard for inactive people to take that first step,"Yli-Piipari said. "These games may be able to address that problem."
So if this is the way you want to exercise, what are the options open to you?
There are numerous games for both Nintendo, Xbox and Playstation systems, from boxing games to dancing to the latest hip hop tracks. Virtual reality games are also available, such as Beat Saber and Knockout League.
However, if you are looking for the ultimate exercise gaming experience, then you need to look at our friends at Icaros.
They have taken exercise and gaming to another level!
They have designed equipment such as the Icaros Home that allows you to either fly or dive through virtual reality worlds wearing a VR headset. With the Icaros Cloud, via apps and smart screens, you can even ski down snowy slopes or surf the ocean waves.
Technology is transforming the way we workout and it is still in its infancy but with more studies like the one above, we can guarantee there are many more exciting developments to come.
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