Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the exercise intensity of active virtual reality games (AVRGs) by oxygen consumption (VO2), heart rate (HR), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). A second aim was to compare the AVRG intensities to current American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines using metabolic equivalents (METs) and %VO2 reserve (%VO2R).
Materials & methods: HR, VO2, and RPE were collected on participants (N = 41; age: 25.2 ± 4.4 years) during 10-minutes of supine rest and while the participants played each of the following AVRGs for 10 minutes: Thrill of the Fight (TOF), Audioshield (AS), and Holopoint (HP).
Results: Compared to resting values of HR (63 ± 10 bpm) and VO2 (4.9 ± 0.6 mL/[kg·min]), there were significant elevations in these variables during TOF (149 ± 16 bpm and 32.5 ± 7.1 mL/[kg·min]), AS (131 ± 24 bpm and 19.1 ± 5.9 mL/[kg·min]), and HP (135 ± 22 bpm and 24.8 ± 6.6 mL/[kg·min]). Based on 95% confidence intervals (CI) of %VO2R, TOF was classified vigorous (68.6% ± 2.8%), HP moderate (49.7% ± 2.7%), and AS light intensity (35.7% ± 2.4%). The 95% CI of METs indicated that TOF was classified vigorous (9.3 ± 0.3 METs), HP moderate to vigorous (7.1 ± 0.3 METs), and AS moderate intensity (5.5 ± 0.3 METs). Lastly, 95% CI of RPE led to TOF being classified as moderate (12.7 ± 0.4), whereas HP (10.5 ± 0.4) and AS (9.3 ± 0.3) were light intensity.
Conclusions: These data suggest that these AVRGs can elicit significant increases in VO2 that are game-dependent, indicating increased energy expenditure. Furthermore, each game had a lower intensity categorization based on RPE compared to %VO2R or METs. These data provide information on the metabolic cost of movement-specific games and may aid consumers and fitness specialists in developing exercise programs with AVRGs.
Keywords: Exercise guidelines; Metabolic equivalents; Oxygen consumption; Videogames; Virtual reality.