Interactive video game cycling leads to higher energy expenditure and is more enjoyable than conventional exercise in adults

Javier Monedero, Elizabeth J. Lyons, Donal J. O'Gorman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Scopus citations


    Background: Despite the widely accepted health benefits of regular physical activity, only a small percentage of the population meets the current recommendations. The reasons include a wide use of technology and a lack of enjoyment while exercising. The purpose of this study was to compare the physiological, perceptual and enjoyment responses between a single bout of (I) conventional cycling and (II) interactive cycling video game at a matched workload. Methods: A cross-sectional study in 34 healthy participants was performed. Initially, participants completed an incremental maximal cycling test to measure peak oxygen uptake and to determine ventilatory threshold. In random order, participants carried out a 30 min interactive cycling trial and a 30 min conventional cycling trial at 55% of peak power output. During the trials, oxygen uptake and energy expenditure were measured by open-circuit spirometry and heart rate was measured by radiotelemetry. RPE and enjoyment were measured every 10 minutes with Borg scale and a modified PACES scale. Results: Interactive cycling resulted in a significantly greater %VO2Reserve (68.2% ± 9.2% vs 64.7% ± 8.1%), rate of energy expenditure (505.8±75.2 vs 487.4±81.2 j·kg-1·min-1), and enjoyment (63.4% ± 17 vs 42% ± 13.6), P<0.05. Participants were working at a higher intensity in relation to the individual's ventilatory threshold during the interactive cycling video game trial (M = 11.86, SE = 3.08) than during the Conventional cycling trial (M = 7.55, SE = 3.16, t(33) = -2.69, P<0.05, r =.42). No significant differences were found for heart rate reserve (72.5 ± 10.4 vs 71.4±10.1%) and RPE (13.1 ± 1.8 vs 13.2 ± 1.7). Conclusion: Interactive cycling games can be a valid alternative to conventional exercise as they result in a higher exercise intensity than conventional cycling and a distraction from aversive cognitive and physiological states at and above the ventilatory threshold.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numbere0118470
    JournalPloS one
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 4 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
    • General


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