Can digital games help you exercise?

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WASHINGTON: Turns out, the use of digital games may improve exercise capacity and energy expenditure significantly.

A scoping review of studies on game interventions for cardiovascular disease (CVD) self-management found an average adherence rate for the game interventions ranged from 70% to 100% across all studies, and they were enjoyed by a majority of participants in studies that assessed perceptions of the interventions.

However, the use of digital games did not affect the quality of life, self-efficacy, anxiety, or depression.

Recent research evidence on game interventions for CVD-related self-management behaviors in patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypertension, or myocardial infarction was examined in the article entitled ‘Role of Digital Games in Self-Management of Cardiovascular Diseases: A Scoping Review.’

Based on the findings of their review, the authors recommend that future research includes longer study durations and larger sample sizes, game design that is informed by theoretical frameworks for behavior change, and additional CVD self-management behaviors.

Co-author Tom Baranowski said, “Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in the US and in much of the western world. Compliance with the self-care prescriptions for the heart-related disease therapies tends to be low. Games may provide a method for reaching large numbers of heart disease patients to teach easy to learn self-care practices in an enjoyable manner.”

The article reviewed eight studies of games for heart disease self-care, mostly done in Europe. Most of these studies reported positive health or behavioral outcomes, but the promise of games needs to be more thoroughly assessed. The full findings are present in the journal- Games for Health Journal. (ANI)