Tuesday, November 17

Exergaming Research in Shambles

Study Results from Professionals or Puppets?

Last week the American Council on Exercise released a study that showed Wii Fit didn't come up to it's standards of moderate to vigorous physical activity. This week Nintendo released a study showing that Wii Fit does meet the standards. Who is right?

The moderate to vigorous physical activity standard is very important. It's the basis behind every single country's government health advice. It's the sustained target at which fitness levels improve and overweight health risks can be reduced. Irrespective of METs and V02MAX measurements the basics are "activity that makes you sweat after 5 minutes duration".

Wii Fit is bringing researchers and active gaming (
and governments) into disrepute with the constant commercial push and pull with science fact. Largely this is all irrelevant when you look at figures from the Nintendo channel that show a half hour use per month average. Is it MVPA or not, it doesn't matter if you don't use it.

Ask people what they consider good exercise and you'll probably come back with running, swimming, cycling, sport and the number one answer - the gym. Think about what you find in a gym that makes people give this answer - that's right, cardio fitness machines. Now take a look at the picture below and ask yourself - why isn't this exergame (and others like it) being studied?

The reason is awareness, or rather lack of it, in the wider community. There are so many active gaming options available to suit all abilities and interests. Just take a look at the Interactive Fitness and Exergaming wiki site. It's time for researchers to research a bit more before starting trails to make sure they have right equipment under test.

Looking deeper into the work that ACE has done reveals a good tempate for results with easy, medium and hard settings tested, and the full range of biometric data. In looking forwards perhaps the standard needs to be set (or maybe ACE has already set this?) and the different options need to be explored.

1 comment:

gamercize @ said...

I'd just like to point out that the five researchers I know personally are definitely professionals, not puppets and it is a pity not more of their work has such public visibility.