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The Benefits of Virtual Biking

A study by Ryan Rhodes from the Behavioural Medicine Lab at the University of Victoria looked at the benefits of incorporating aspects of...


A study by Ryan Rhodes from the Behavioural Medicine Lab at the University of Victoria looked at the benefits of incorporating aspects of videogaming into exercise routines:
Rhodes' team had 29 previously inactive young men embark on an exercise regime, involving three half-hour cycling sessions a week for six weeks. Crucially, half the men trained on GameBikes wired up to a Playstation, such that their peddling speed and steering interacted with in-game events. The remaining participants trained on standard low-tech exercise bikes, although they were allowed to enjoy their own choice of music over an ipod. Exercise intensity was equalised across the two groups.The bottom-line: the men who trained on the GameBikes were more likely to stick to the exercise regime. They attended an average of 77 per cent of the sessions compared with 42 per cent of participants in the low-tech control condition.
Exercise is beneficial, so it's great these GameBikes make people more inclined to do it. And I could imagine these bikes being very valuable for certain kinds of physical therapy or rehabilitation. But isn't the GameBike just more fun because it more closely resembles actual biking? I'd like to see a study compare these rates of participation to those of a third group that gets outside on a real bicycle.
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