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Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 251–255 | Cite as

The Health Benefits of Active Gaming: Separating the Myths from the Virtual Reality

  • Darren E. R. Warburton
Invited Commentary

Abstract

Video game play is a preferred leisure time activity of many children and adults. Video gaming is often viewed as the enemy of effective health promotion strategies owing to competition with for a finite availability for leisure time pursuits. However, recent advancements in active gaming (ie, video games that involve physical activity) have created a viable alternative for increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary behaviors. This review outlines the potential for active gaming (particularly whole body gaming) to reach activity levels and intensities that are sufficient to reduce the risk for premature mortality and cardiovascular disease, and increase overall health and well-being. This review also looks at the anti-active gaming sentiment perpetuated by some individuals and organizations and how this stance is not supported by the preponderance of current literature. In fact, compelling literature (supported by numerous systematic reviews of the literature) demonstrates the health benefits of active gaming, and the suitability of active gaming for use in a menu of physical activity opportunities for children and adults alike. Collectively, this research supports active gaming as a viable means of improving physical activity levels and reducing sedentary behaviors in a wide range of individuals.

Keywords

Active gaming Exergaming Leisure-time preferences Physical activity Video games 

Notes

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Darren Warburton declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physical Activity Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention UnitUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation LaboratoryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.International Collaboration on Repair DiscoveriesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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