The health benefits of interactive video game exercise

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007 Aug;32(4):655-63. doi: 10.1139/H07-038.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of interactive video games (combined with stationary cycling) on health-related physical fitness and exercise adherence in comparison with traditional aerobic training (stationary cycling alone). College-aged males were stratified (aerobic fitness and body mass) and then assigned randomly to experimental (n = 7) or control (n = 7) conditions. Program attendance, health-related physical fitness (including maximal aerobic power (VO2 max), body composition, muscular strength, muscular power, and flexibility), and resting blood pressure were measured before and after training (60%-75% heart rate reserve, 3 d/week for 30 min/d for 6 weeks). There was a significant difference in the attendance of the interactive video game and traditional training groups (78% +/- 18% vs. 48% +/- 29%, respectively). VO2 max was significantly increased after interactive video game (11% +/- 5%) but not traditional (3% +/- 6%) training. There was a significantly greater reduction in resting systolic blood pressure after interactive video game (132 +/- 6 vs. 123 +/- 6 mmHg) than traditional (131 +/- 7 vs. 128 +/- 8 mmHg) training. There were no significant changes in body composition after either training program. Attendance mediated the relationships between condition and changes in health outcomes (including VO2 max, vertical jump, and systolic blood pressure). The present investigation indicates that a training program that links interactive video games to cycle exercise results in greater improvements in health-related physical fitness than that seen after traditional cycle exercise training. It appears that greater attendance, and thus a higher volume of physical activity, is the mechanism for the differences in health-related physical fitness.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Exercise Test
  • Health Status*
  • Heart / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Physiological Phenomena
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Respiration
  • Rest
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Video Games*