Virtual gaming or video games may have been accepted as an accessible way of involving sedentary kids in physical activity but a fitness expert suggests that it cannot be a replacement for real exercise.
According to Colleen Greene, M.A., wellness coordinator for MFit, the health promotion division of the University of Michigan Health System, active virtual gaming can have a role in a healthy lifestyle but it cannot replace traditional exercise.
"Virtual gaming is no replacement for real exercise. It's a place to start, though. Kids can have fun doing it, they can feel a little better about actually trying the sport or activity," she said.
laying virtual games often include little activity such as a swing of the wrist to play golf or tennis, or as much effort as an intense dance routine or the full punches in a virtual boxing match.
Most of these games do not qualify as aerobic exercise, though they do require more activity than traditional video games.
"Real calories can be burned during virtual gaming, although some studies have recently shown that it may be 60 to 70 calories an hour," said Greene.
"This is nowhere near what an actual game or sport should be, which is three to four times that amount," she added.
However she does say that these games can help to improve kids' confidence and hand-eye coordination.