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2 March 2017

More Than Just a Game: Exergames Improve Physical Fitness

Keywords: experiment, Eastern Asia, gaming, interactive media, media, physical activity, young adults,

More and more people around the world play exergames. According to a study in Computers in Human Behavior this is a healthy development. A 3-month study among Taiwanese young adults shows that playing exergames indeed improves their physical fitness.

Take aways

  • Using exergames improves physical fitness among young adults
  • However, this improvement depends on the amount of minutes engaging in other exercises. 
  • For parents and policy makers it is important to know that exergames can increase young adults’ physical fitness.

Study information

  • The question?

    Does playing exergames improve physical fitness in young adults?

  • Who?

    117 Taiwanese college students between the ages of 20 to 24 years (mean age: 22.67 years; 57% female)

  • Where?


  • How?

    The researchers assigned the young adults to one of two groups, an exergame group and a no-exergame group (control).

    All young adults underwent a physical fitness test before and after the 12-week program (January-April 2014). During those 12 weeks, the young adults in the exergame group were required to use exergames in an experimental room for 30 minutes, three times a week.

    The young adults used the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved software to do the training (Microsoft Xbox 360), following the levels from simple to extremely difficult. In this exergame, they use their body movements to control the avatars

Facts and findings

  • Physical fitness increased among the young adults who played the exergames. 
  • Participants who played the exergame had more positive changes in physical fitness than those who did not play the exergame in terms of sit-up test, 3-min step test, body fat percentage, and blood pressure.
  • However, this improvement depended on the amount of minutes young adults engaged in other exercises: those who exercised less than 120 minutes had less positive changes in physical fitness than those who exercised more than 120 minutes.