Tuesday, 13 September 2011

When Good Exergaming Research Goes Bad

Another Exergaming related study deriving inconclusive results based on an incorrect premise: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21353635

The Abstract of the study points out 4 activities, 2 of which require significant aerobic capacity. The conventional aerobic activity was 'running' (verb) on a 'treadmill' (equipment/noun), the other was referred to as an Exergame? What Exergame and what physical activity or activities were required by the Exergame?!

Exergaming is a genre, a methology. Exergames vary as much as any other physical activity. This is akin to saying "I did sport the other day", the immediate response to that is "What sport did you do?". So what was the Exergame, was it chosen completely randomly, was it meant to also replicate running, was it a highly cognitive exergame such as DDR or iDANCE etc etc.

The complete study may well point out the exact nature of the Exergame used, but it is obvious to the researchers that this fact is of little importance in summing up their findings. This is extremely irksome, as they DO stipulate the nature of the conventional aerobic activity! (they also leave out the nature and platform required of the seated videogame).

This is simply inequitable and unfortunately, all to annoying common. Quite obviously the researchers misunderstand 'what is an Exergame'. This is misinformed at best and incompetent at worst. This is further exemplified in their conclusion and significance, "....exergames..may not exert the same benefits..", again which Exergame was used? From this, the conclusion would change to "....XXX Exergame ..may not exert.....". Extrapolating the results of 'one' Exergame does NOT predict an outcome for ALL Exergames!

All Exergames are NOT equal, of course not, why on earth would they be! In the same way as not all sports, video games, fitness equipment etc are 'the same' or 'produce or require the same responses'. This is a gross and insipid generalisation.

The massive cross section of Exergames available today all 'require' different and sometimes unique physical, cognitive, social, emotional, logical, musical etc abilities. Exergames can engage specific, local or compound muscle groups; lower limb movement, limb extremeties, upper limbs only, combinations of both, full body along with running, jumping, twisting, stepping, punching, dancing, and so on......

Please researchers, we encourage you to pour your expertise into this rapidly developing genre. The research potential here is massive, but get your facts straight on Exergaming. For a lesson in Exergaming 101: http://exergaming.pbworks.com/

The Exergame Network (TEN) is a not for profit advocacy resource that is dedicated to getting the best out of exergaming.  Resources relevant to this post are TEN's Rating System (TRS) and the Researcher's Resource. Details of both projects can be found on our wiki.

The Researcher's Resource project in particular highlights studies that exhibit either very good or very poor design and/or exergaming understanding from the researcher. The product of this resource will be the Top 10 exergaming studies, to show researchers "What good looks like" and to bring out the best of exergaming implemention to the public eye.

1 comment:

  1. I have truely enjoyed getting to know you and I pray for you! I hope you get feeling better