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Research Overview Examines Exergaming Health Benefits

Research Overview Examines Exergaming Health Benefits

April 14, 2006 | By Jason Dobson

A new research overview entitled Dance Games and Other Exergames: What the Research Says, written by Debra A Lieberman of University of California, Santa Barbara, has discussed in depth the health benefits associated with playing video games such as those in Konami's popular Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) series, which require the player to get up and actively participate in the experience, rather than simply sit and use a conventional game controller.

The popularity of Konami's franchise in particular is without question, with numerous sequels having been released since the series was introduced to Japanese arcades in 1998. A particular cited study examined a selection of young adults aged 18 to 27 who played DDR, and found those who only played in the arcade did so on average 4 hours per week, while those who played both the console versions as well as those in the arcade played 7.4 hours on average, with 5.6 hours of that time spent on the console versions of the game - a great deal of exercise time each week.

The overview also looked at similar titles that do not involve a dance mat, including Sony's EyeToy: Kinetic, which uses the PlayStation camera to track player movement for use in numerous exercise routines, as well as Yourself! Fitness, which utilizes a virtual trainer named Maya to guide a player through daily workout regiments.

The article includes data regarding the positive effects of playing these games on a player's weight, as well as his or her general health. According to the overview, games such as these are either being considered or have already been implemented for use within schools, workplaces, and medical facilities as a way to promote the health of those using the facilities. In addition, insurance firms are considering these games as a way to drive down the premiums of their clients by helping to ensure that they stay healthy as well.

More information is available by reading the complete overview article from Lieberman, who is a lecturer in the Department of Communication and a researcher in the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research (ISBER) at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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