Fun and exergames: Good for the heart, body, mind, from the Harvard Heart Letter

Active-play video games may seem like kid stuff, but they are catching on with middle-aged and older adults as an enjoyable way to get moving. According to the March 2012 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter, these games may actually help people become more physically active. Researchers are taking a close look at these "exergames" as a way to get couch potatoes moving. Even the American Heart Association has convened a summit of researchers, clinicians, and game makers to explore the influence that exergames (for example Nintendo's Wii Fitness and Xbox's Kinect Sports) might have on improving health and well-being. The Harvard Heart Letter explains that exergames deliver, at best, a moderate workout. They won't help you lose weight or train for a marathon. But many meet the American Heart Association's criteria for "moderate-intensity daily activity," meaning they could stand in for taking a walk.
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