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Active Video Games Can Lead to More Exercise

Update Date: Aug 08, 2012 11:36 AM EDT

With the nation's obesity rates a continuos issue, you might want to burn some calories by investing in some active video games or "exergames" as they are called. 

A Michigan State University researcher reviewed published research of studies of these games and says that most of the AVGs provide only "light-to-moderate" intensity physical activity.

Wei Peng said exergames could be an alternative to real life exercise, especially for those who are not physically engaging. 

"Eventually the goal is to help them get somewhat active and maybe move to real-life exercise," she said. 

Researchers said they looked at 41 active video games, but only three of them proved to be an effective tool in increasing physical activity.

Peng said while some people are very enthusiastic about exergames, it is not very easy to solve the type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity. 

The U.S.  Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention recommends up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activities such as brisk walking every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups. 

Their findings are published in the recent edition of the journal Health Education and Behavior.

"The games do have the potential to be useful," Peng said, "especially for populations that are more suitable to light-to-moderate activity - seniors, for example. Just giving the games to people may not be a good approach. They may not use it or use it effectively. It's better if used in a structured program where there are more people participating."

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