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Abstract

Video games have become increasingly popular among young adults. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if interactive video/arcade games, requiring physical activity to play, increase the energy expenditure (EE) and heart rate (HR) of young adults enough to elicit a training response. Thirteen male and female participants 26.6 ± 5.7 years of age were in the study. Participants were familiarized with equipment and allowed to practice with three games: (1) moving and striking lighted pads, (2) riding a bike to increase the pace of a race car, and (3) boxing against a video simulated opponent. A portable metabolic cart and HR monitor were attached to participants to measure baseline and exercise values. Participants could play any of the three games for 30 minutes while metabolic and HR data were collected. Exercise data were compared to baseline measures, and the 3 games were compared for EE. Paired sample t-tests showed baseline and exercise values differed for HR (t(12) = -18.91, p < 0.01), and EE (t(12) = -15.62, p < 0.01). The boxing game provided the highest VO2 (17.47 ± 4.79 ml·kg·-1min-1). Participants achieved 60% or better of their HR reserve (162.82 ± 10.78 beats·min-1), well within the ACSM guidelines for a training HR. Caloric expenditure during the 30-minute exercise session (226. 07 ± 48.68) is also within the ACSM recommendations for daily physical activity. Thus, interactive video/arcade games that require physical activity to play can be utilized as part of an overall aerobic exercise program.