Over the last few days we’ve been seeing a lot of press hits (even local TV spots) based on research out of MSU led by Wei Peng on the benefits (or lack thereof) of exercise video games.


This article reports a meta-analysis of energy expenditure (EE) of playing active video games (AVGs). In particular, heart rate (HR), oxygen consumption (VO2), and EE were assessed and three moderators for the effects of AVGs-types of AVG, player age, and player weight status-were analyzed. The results show that playing AVGs significantly increased HR, VO2, and EE from resting. The effect sizes of playing AVGs on HR, VO2, and EE were similar to traditional physical activities. AVG type and player age were significant modera-tors for the effects of AVGs. The finding suggests that AVGs are effective technologies that may facilitate light- to moderate-intensity physical activity promotion.


What’s funny is that the press has taken the results both ways. The most common story taken away is that, “exercise games do not offer high intensity workouts and thus are not a replacement for traditional exercise.”

While a few others reach the opposite conclusion based on the fact the paper equates exercise video games with traditional light exercise.

Here at BitGym we believe moderate to high intensity workout is critical for the health of able-bodied adults and youths, and thus while Wii and Xbox motion games are fun they are not going to make an impact on most people’s health. That is why we focus on games played on traditional cardiovascular machines – they offer an intensity of workout that is very hard to approach standing in front of your TV.