Study shows “active” video games as good as jogging for health

While most of us know we should get more exercise, most of us would freely admit to not enjoying it. But a new study from the University of Bath might have a more fun solution: video games. 

The researchers from the university looked into jogging vs. so-called “exergames” — that is, video games where your movements dictate those of your avatar — and found the video games offered “similar” positive health effects.

The study used Type 1 diabetics as subjects and tracked some while they played Xbox’s Kinect Adventures title, while others jogged on a treadmill at a “moderate” intensity. Afterward, subjects had their blood pressure and other stats measured, before, during, and after their activity.

Researchers found “very similar physiological effects” between both groups. Additionally, both groups saw their blood glucose levels drop to safe levels, which is key to their health issues. 

The important thing was, when it came to the gamer group, they actually enjoyed their activity, as opposed to the joggers — meaning the gamer group would be more apt to keep up with such activity in the future.

In a university release, Dr. Pooya Soltani noted, “Exercise is already recommended by doctors as a drug-free way of managing diabetics’ blood sugar levels, along with diet, but it can be difficult for people to stick to exercise routines long term.”

She adds, “Whilst it’s not the magic solution to keeping active, we found that players enjoyed playing exergames way more than running. This is really important when adherence to traditional physical activities is generally low in diabetic patients.”