Study shows virtual sport no substitute – yet

A recently released study shows that physically active (read: Nintendo Wii) computer-based gaming did burn more energy than more passive gaming options. However, the level of increased activity wasn’t enough to meet the physical activity guidelines.

That result is no great surprise but the researchers were encouraging of the move toward more physically active gaming as a way of promoting broader physical activity measures. Personally, I’d love to see a way of linking physical activity to virtual worlds. Imagine the kilometres covered if you had to actually walk around World of Warcraft or Second Life? This has been done once but there’s no official development of such options that I’m aware of.

As far as further research, I’d be interested in analysis of the musculoskeletal benefits of more active gaming – that is, how much better is more active gaming for posture, bone strength and muscle flexibility? I’d wager the results would show that pretty much anything is better than slouching on the sofa playing passive console games. The health impact of virtual worlds is a keystone issue. The bulk of work to date has been on the mental health aspects but expect greater scrutiny of the physical as virtual worlds grow in popularity.

Thanks to Tony Walsh for the heads-up

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