Can A Video Game Make Your Kids More Fit?
Based on the growing popularity of video games that eliminate conventional hand controllers in favor of more full-body interaction, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) put Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) to the test.
The ACE commissioned research out of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, focused on quantifying DDR's potential physical benefits. Looking at the caloric expenditure data of 24 volunteers, researchers determined that it is comparable to many other aerobic activities and could result in significant weight loss if used regularly.
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Led by John Porcari, Ph.D., FACSM and Anna Norlin, M.S., male and female subjects, ages 12 - 25 years old were recruited for the study. Half the volunteers were under the age of 18 and enlisted from the local La Crosse Boys & Girls Club.
Based on the physiological responses to three levels of DDR, all subjects showed a marked increase in exercise intensity as they participated. Adult participants burned more calories, which can be attributed to differences in body weight since the adults averaged about 25 pounds heavier than teenage subjects. On average, teens burned 5.9 kcal/min on light mode, 6.7 kcal/min on standard mode and 8.1 kcal/min of difficult mode.
All study participants, regardless of their experience with DDR, were required to practice a pre-determined four song dance sequence for up to six hour-long practice sessions or until they could demonstrate proficiency. Testing included continuously monitoring all participants of their oxygen uptake, heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion.