Saturday, 4 August 2012

Can exergames increase physical activity?

Posted by John Ferrara on June 7, 2012

Earlier this year, a study published in the journal Pediatrics found that five games that are marketed with the promise of increasing players' physical fitness produced no actual difference in activity. 78 kids between 9 and 12 were given Wii consoles, and then one group was given a couple of exergames while a control group was given "inactive" games like Madden and Mario Kart. The kids wore devices to measure their physical activity, and they kept logs of when they played.

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To be certain, the study was performed by a very accomplished group of researchers. The lead author, Tom Baranowski of Baylor College, is one of the most widely published researchers of health games. And this was a very well-designed study, printed in the foremost journal on children's health. Nevertheless, the study should not be read to mean that games can't affect physical activity and can't have a positive impact on public health. That's because it didn't account for the most influential factor in a health game's impact -- its design.

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Friday, 3 August 2012

Assessment of the postural control strategies used to play two Wii Fit™ videogames

Gait Posture. 2012 Jul;36(3):449-53.

A. Michalski, C.M. Glazebrook, A.J. Martin, W.W.N. Wong, A.J.W. Kim, K.D. Moody, N.M. Salbach, B. Steinnagel, J. Andrysek, R. Torres-Moreno, K.F. Zabjek

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The Nintendo Wii Fit™ may provide an affordable alternative to traditional biofeedback or virtual reality systems for retraining or improving motor function in populations with impaired balance. The purpose of this study was to evaluate postural control strategies healthy individuals use to play Wii Fit™ videogames. Sixteen young adults played 10 trials of Ski Slalom and Soccer Heading respectively. Centre of pressure (COP) excursion and three-dimensional movement data were acquired to determine variability in medial–lateral COP sway and shoulder–pelvic movement. While there was no difference in medial–lateral COP variability between games during trial 1, there was a significant difference after 10 trials. COP sway increased (59–75mm) for Soccer Heading while it decreased (67–33mm) for Ski Slalom from trial 1 to trial 10. During Ski Slalom participants demonstrated decreased shoulder and pelvic movement combined with increased pelvic–shoulder coupling. Conversely, participants demonstrated greater initial shoulder tilt when playing Soccer Heading, with no reduction in pelvic rotation and tilt. Participants decreased pelvic and trunk movements when skiing, suggesting a greater contribution of lower extremity control while they primarily used a trunk strategy to play Soccer Heading.

► We evaluated the balance control strategies adopted when participants played the Wii Fit™.
► Distinct strategies emerged with increased experience playing the Soccer Heading and Ski Slalom games. ► With experience centre of pressure variability increased for Soccer Heading and decreased for Ski Slalom games.
► When playing Soccer Heading participants demonstrated greater shoulder tilt.
► When playing Ski Slalom participants demonstrated increased pelvic–shoulder coupling.

Keywords: Balance control, Balance training, Centre of pressure

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Thursday, 2 August 2012

The heart rate response to nintendo wii boxing in young adults.

Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal 2012 Jun;23(2):13-29.

Pamela R. Bosch, PT, DPT, PhD; Joseph Poloni, DPT; Andrew Thornton, DPT; James V. Lynskey, PT, PhD
Department of Physical Therapy, A.T. Still University, Mesa, Arizona

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PURPOSE: To determine if 30 minutes of Nintendo Wii Sports boxing provides cardiorespiratory benefits and contributes to the daily exercise recommendations for healthy young adults.
METHODS: Twenty healthy 23- to 27-year-olds participated in two sessions to measure maximum heart rate (HR(max)) via a treadmill test and heart rate (HR) response to 30 minutes of Wii Sports boxing. Heart rate in beats per minute (bpm) was measured continuously, and exercise intensity during each minute of play was stratified as a percentage of HR(max). Mixed designs analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Pearson product moment correlations were used to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Mean (SD) HR response to boxing was 143 (15) bpm or 77.5% (10.0%) of HR(max). The mean HR response for experienced participants was significantly lower than inexperienced participants, P = .007. The ANOVA revealed a significant interaction between experience and time spent at various intensities, P = .009. Experienced participants spent more time in light to vigorous intensities, inexperienced participants in moderate to very hard intensities. Fitness was not correlated with mean HR response to boxing, P = .49.
CONCLUSION: Thirty minutes of Nintendo Wii Sports boxing provides a moderate to vigorous aerobic response in healthy young adults and can contribute to daily recommendations for physical activity.

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