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African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Metabolic changes associated with playing active video game against a human and computer opponent

JA Mcwha, S Horst, GA Brown, I Shaw, BS Shaw

Abstract


With 58 million individuals being overweight and another 40 million obese in the United States of America, active video gaming may become a means to improve physical fitness and possibly even more so when playing against a human opponent as compared to a computer opponent. The purpose of this study was to determine the changes in heart rate, oxygen consumption and energy expenditure while playing Nintendo Wii Boxing™ against a human and computer opponent. Twenty adults (10 males and 10 females) between 19 and 25 years of age played Nintendo Wii Boxing™ for 15 minutes. The subjects were randomised to play against a human or computer opponent while heart rate, oxygen consumption and energy expenditure were measured. Heart rate, oxygen consumption and energy expenditures were all significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher during
the VO2max assessment. Heart rates were significantly higher when playing against a human opponent (103.8 ± 4.31 bpm) and the computer opponent (104.6 ± 4.58 bpm) when compared to when at rest (75.4 ± 2.90 bpm). No significant differences were found in heart rates when
comparing the two video game opponents or the males and females. Oxygen consumption was significantly higher when playing against both the human (14.6 ± 1.80 ml•min-1) and computer (14.4 ± 1.66 ml•min-1) opponents than at rest (4.4 ± 0.51 ml•min-1), with no differences between gender or video game opponent. Energy expenditure was significantly higher when playing against a human (3.3 ± 0.4 kcal•min-1) and computer (3.2 ± 0.3 kcal•min-1) opponent when compared to when at rest (1.1 ± 0.1 kcal•min-1), while no significant differences were found between the two video game opponents or males and females. While the findings indicate that playing against a human or computer opponent does not alter the magnitude of increase in the metabolic responses, the increases in metabolic responses observed were significantly higher
than when at rest classifying active video gaming as a light intensity activity similar to brisk walking, skipping and stair walking. However, this increase in metabolic responses may not enhance physical well-being, and as such does not provide an adequate stimulus to optimally enhance fitness.



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