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Active Video Games Count as Exercise

Wii programs can provide moderate-intensity workouts, Nintendo study finds

MONDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The amount of energy adults expend playing active video games may equal that of moderate-intensity exercise, according to a new study.

Japanese researchers measured the metabolic equivalent values (a standard method of estimating energy expenditure) of 12 people ages 25 to 44 as they played Wii sports games and did Wii fitness programs. The study was funded by Nintendo, which makes Wii.

The study found that nine Wii activities had less than two metabolic equivalent values (METs); 23 activities had two to three METs; nine activities had three to four METs; and five activities had more than four METs. The least intense activity was lotus focus (1.3 METs), and the most intense was the single-arm stand (5.6 METs).

Light-intensity exercise is less than three METs, moderate-intensity exercise is three to six METs and vigorous activity is more than six METs, according to the American Heart Association. An adult walking at 3 miles an hour on a flat surface expends about 3.3 METs.

"The range of energy expenditure in these active games is sufficient to prevent or to improve obesity and lifestyle-related disease, from heart disease and diabetes to metabolic diseases," the study's lead author, Motohiko Miyachi, a project leader at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo, said in a news release from the American Heart Association.

The findings were to be presented Monday at the association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Though yoga and balance exercises are much less intense than resistance and aerobic exercise, they help improve flexibility and reduce the risk for falls, according to the researchers.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about physical activity.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 16, 2009

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