Exergaming: Can Video Games Really Help You Lose Weight?

March 25, 2013

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Exergaming for weight lossVideo games are not just for kids anymore. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average gamer is 37 years old, and 29 percent of gamers are over age 50.

And these days, playing video games doesn’t mean you’re necessarily plopped on the couch for hours on end. Many games, such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit, require you to move. Some believe this form of interactive gaming, also known as exergaming, can act in place of real sports or an exercise program.

Now, don’t get too far ahead of yourself and ditch your exercise program just yet. Video games do not replace physical activity, even the interactive ones. Studies show you burn more calories playing real sports or going on a run than you do with a remote control and a gaming console.

Although exergaming alone won’t shrink your waistline, there are plenty of healthy reasons to pick up the hobby.

Not only is it a lot of fun, but a recent study suggests exergaming may give senior citizens a memory boost! Researchers found virtual gaming fights cognitive decline even more effectively than traditional exercising.

While nothing can replace the value of fresh air, interactive video games can also be an excellent alternative if you’re stuck in the house. Remember, some exercise is better than no exercise. The move toward exergaming gets people off the couch, which is the first step toward an active lifestyle. The key to a successful weight loss program is developing good habits, which includes moving regularly.

If you’re lacking the motivation to get moving on your own, invite a friend over to give your morale a boost. Studies show when video gaming is used as a social activity, you’re more likely to make it part of your routine. In your mind, it’s not a workout, but it’s a game that you want to beat and continuously work to achieve a higher score.

So, you have your controller in your hand, friend by your side, and sneakers on your feet. Here’s a hint: If you want to get the most out of your exergaming workout, opt to play a boxing or dancing game. You’ll work up a sweat and burn the most calories.

Take a look at the Wii Sports breakdown:
Boxing: 216 calories in 30 minutes
Tennis: 159 calories in 30 minutes
Baseball: 135 calories in 30 minutes
Bowling: 117 calories in 30 minutes
Golf: 93 calories in 30 minutes
Dancetown: 136 calories in 30 minutes

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