Video Games For Exercise

April 2nd, 2011

By Nancy Shute: Parents who fear that video games are turning their children into tubs of lard can now say with confidence that playing Dance Dance Revolution burns more calories than sitting on the couch.

In fact, active video games like Dance Dance Revolution give kids a better workout than walking on a treadmill at 3 mph, according to new study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. And even the overweight kids say they liked playing the games.

However, a 3-mph walk is pretty darned leisurely, and the children who played Wii Boxing didn’t manage to get their metabolic rate above their walking rate. Dance Dance Revolution bested Nintendo Wii Boxing when 39 children ages 9 to 13 were dancing to the rock chestnut “Thirteen.”

Earlier studies have evaluated home video games as exercise options, but this study also looked at commercial video games like SportWall, in which students interact with wall panels equipped with motion sensors, that are becoming increasingly popular for school phys ed classes.

Three commercial games were among the four that burned the most energy —SportWallTrazer, a laser-tag-like game; and LightSpace Bug Invasion, in which players stop lighted bugs on a mat.


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