Gaming is often associated with sitting for long periods and being sedentary, which has led to concerns about its impact on physical health. However, recent research has shown that gaming can actually have a positive impact on physical health and fitness. Gaming companies, like Nintendo and Xbox, have always made fitness gaming an important staple of their platforms. In an ever-evolving and sedentary world, it is necessary to push forward with new ways to get gamers moving. That being said, let’s explore some of the ways in which gaming can help and has helped keep people fit.
Gamers on Wii Sports got to enjoy the best of all worlds, including golfing! (Photo by JanBaby)
Active gaming, also known as exergaming, is a type of video game that requires physical activity to play. These games use motion sensors, cameras, or controllers to track the player’s movements and incorporate them into the game. Examples of active games include Dance Dance Revolution, Wii Sports, and Just Dance. Three of which have done incredible jobs in successfully incorporating fitness into a world that should be anything but that!
Active gaming has been shown to have a positive impact on physical fitness. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children who played active games for at least 30 minutes a day had increased physical activity levels, decreased body mass index, and improved cardiovascular health. Another study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that active gaming was as effective as traditional exercise at improving cardiorespiratory fitness in adults.
The popularity of active gaming has led to the development of dedicated gaming consoles and accessories designed specifically for exercise, such as the Nintendo Wii Fit and the Xbox Kinect. To emphasize on this point, the Nintendo Wii and Wii U were consoles that really focused on bringing fitness to consoles in a gigantic manner. Companies saw that they could incorporate things like bowling and boxing to help players get a workout instead of sitting and playing. These devices allow players to engage in a variety of physical activities, including yoga, strength training, and cardio workouts, all while playing games.
The newest iteration of Wii Sports came to Nintendo Switch recently. (Photo by KD_Buck)
In addition to active gaming, there are also games specifically designed to promote fitness and healthy lifestyles. These games often incorporate elements of education and motivation to encourage players to make healthy choices in their everyday lives. Examples of fitness games include My Fitness Coach, Wii Fit Plus, and Nike+ Kinect Training. Fitness games can provide players with personalized workout plans and track their progress over time. They can also provide motivation through rewards and feedback, making it easier for players to stay on track and achieve their fitness goals. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology found that using a fitness game improved adherence to exercise and increased physical activity in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Multiplayer games, especially those that require physical activity, can also help keep people fit and in shape. Games like basketball, soccer, and tennis require players to move their bodies and engage in physical activity. These games can be played both online and offline, making it easy for players to connect with others and stay motivated. Additionally, multiplayer games can provide a social element to exercise, making it more enjoyable and engaging. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that playing an active multiplayer game with friends increased motivation to exercise and improved physical activity levels in adolescents.
Virtual reality (VR) gaming is a relatively new technology that immerses players in a digital world. VR games often require physical movement, as players use motion controllers or their bodies to interact with the virtual environment. Examples of VR games that promote physical activity include Beat Saber, BoxVR, and Creed: Rise to Glory. VR gaming can provide a unique and engaging exercise experience that feels less like a chore and more like a fun activity. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that VR gaming was as effective as traditional exercise at improving cardiorespiratory fitness and reducing body fat percentage in adults.
Players can use VR headsets like Oculus Quest to spar while in-game. (Photo by harutmovsisyan)
Gaming can have a positive impact on physical health and fitness. Active gaming, fitness games, multiplayer games, and virtual reality gaming can all provide opportunities for players to engage in physical activity and improve their overall health. Even mobile games have turned physical-friendly, letting players run to achieve high scores! These games can be a fun and enjoyable way to stay fit and in shape, and can also be especially beneficial for those who struggle with traditional forms of exercise. We know these Growtopia items are on the mind but be sure to get some exercise before your quests reset. So, next time you pick up a controller, remember that gaming can be a great way to keep your body healthy and active. Also remember to put that phone in your pocket and get the high-score by walking or running your way to victory!
(Photo by Kinkate)
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