METs in adults while playing active video games: a metabolic chamber study

Motohiko Miyachi, Kenta Yamamoto, Kazunori Ohkawara, Shigeho Tanaka
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2010, 42 (6): 1149-53

PURPOSE: Active video game systems controlled through arm gestures and motions (Nintendo Wii Sports) and video games controlled through force plate (Wii Fit Plus) are becoming increasingly popular. This study was performed to determine the energy expenditure (EE) during Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports game activities.

METHODS: Twelve adult men and women performed all the activities of Wii Sports (five activities: golf, bowling, tennis, baseball, and boxing) and Wii Fit Plus (63 activities classified as yoga, resistance, balance, and aerobic exercises). Each activity was continued for at least 8 min to obtain a steady-state EE. Because EE was assessed in an open-circuit indirect metabolic chamber consisting of an airtight room (20,000 or 15,000 L), subjects were freed of apparatus to collect expired gas while playing the games. MET value was calculated from resting EE and steady-state EE during activity.

RESULTS: The mean MET values of all 68 activities were distributed over a wide range from 1.3 METs (Lotus Focus) to 5.6 METs (single-arm stand). The mean MET values in yoga, balance, resistance, and aerobic exercise of Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports were 2.1, 2.0, 3.2, 3.4, and 3.0 METs, respectively. Forty-six activities (67%) were classified as light intensity (<3 METs), and 22 activities (33%) were classified as moderate intensity (3.0-6.0 METs). There were no vigorous-intensity activities (>6.0 METs).

CONCLUSIONS: Time spent playing one-third of the activities supplied by motion- and gesture-controlled video games can count toward the daily amount of exercise required according to the guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association, which focus on 30 min of moderate-intensity daily physical activity 5 d x wk(-1).

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