Less than half of all Americans (~48%) report getting the necessary amount of physical exercise every week. Roughly 26% of Americans report getting little to no physical activity in at all. Why? Do they not know they need to exercise? In my opinion that’s not possible. It’s about discipline, adherence, and enjoyment. Yes, enjoyment. People need to exercise; it will literally save their fucking life.
Yet we in the health industry can’t make them exercise and the cost in healthcare is in the billions of billions yearly. So how do we get people to employ even a shred of discipline or adherence to an exercise protocol?
Simple. The shit needs to be FUN.
Below is cited a study done with children suffering from cystic fibrosis. The researchers measured exercise intensity between children utilizing an exercise bike and children using an Xbox Kinect. The results were interesting and significant.
The children OBVIOUSLY preferred the Xbox to the stationary cycling. Now, something to be noted was that the children did not achieve all of the same cardiovascular benefits that could’ve been yielded by cycling regularly, but the key to success here was consistency. Children rated the Kinect as being more enjoyable, something that could (and in my opinion would) translate to greater levels of use overall.
“Thirty subjects with CF (11 males, mean SD age of 122.5 y, mean SD FEV1 of 73 16% of predicted) were enrolled. Xbox Kinect provided a cardiovascular demand similar to a stationary cycle, although the modality was different (interval vs. continuous). Maximum heart rates were similar (P.2). Heart rate target was achieved more frequently with a stationary cycle (P.02). Xbox Kinect caused less dyspnea (P.001) and fatigue (P<.001) and was more enjoyable than a stationary cycle (P<.001).”
“Subjects preferred Xbox Kinect for its interactivity. Xbox Kinect has the potential to be employed as an exercise intervention in young subjects with CF, but investigation over longer periods is needed.”
“Xbox Kinect induces a significant increase in maximum heart rate, but we could not establish if it provides a cardiovascular demand similar to a traditional stationary cycle. Subjects expressed greater enjoyment when using Xbox Kinect with a lower perception of dyspnea and muscle fatigue. Based on these preliminary data, it would be advisable to investigate the medium-to-long-term effects of an Xbox Kinect-based physical exercise program on cardiovascular adaptation and exercise adherence in subjects with CF.”
Children preferred the Kinect, but it didn’t yield the exact same results. So it appears we are at an impasse. Do we force an entire population of people to (hopefully) exercise regularly even though they hate it? Or do we make a push towards having that same population willingly engage in physical activity that is enjoyable, variable in intensity, and likely to retain their attention over the long term? Thus resulting in net gains that will be expressed in greater quality of life and increased longevity overall?
My money falls on enjoyment and adherence one hundred percent. People must exercise consistently to stay healthy and the tools are out there to make that a reality and I for one will cheer on the person that gets up and plays a little DDR as much as I will the person who hits the pavement every morning. Health is the goal for all, adherence is a piece, and enjoyment is the key.
Salonini, E., Gambazza, S., Meneghelli, I., Tridello, G., Sanguanini, M., Cazzarolli, C., . . . Assael, B. M. (2015). Active Video Game Playing in Children and Adolescents With Cystic Fibrosis: Exercise or Just Fun? Respiratory Care, 60(8), 1172-1179. doi:10.4187/respcare.03576