Virtual reality exercise boosts mental fitness
Posted: Jan 17, 2012 12:48 PM ET
Exercise video games that work the mind as well as the body may offer more benefits for older adults than traditional exercise alone, a new study suggests.
Virtual reality-enhanced exercise or "exergames" combine physical activity with computer-simulated environments.
"The implication is that older adults who choose exergaming with interactive physical and cognitive exercise, over traditional exercise, may garner added cognitive benefit and perhaps prevent decline, all for the same exercise effort," Cay Anderson-Hanley of the Healthy Aging and Neuropsychology Lab at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and her co-authors concluded.
In the study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers looked at 101 volunteers age 58 to 99 from independent living facilities with access to an exercise bike.
Some participants raced on 3D tours against a "ghost rider," an avatar based on their last best ride. The others also rode identical stationary bikes without the virtual reality display for three months.
A total of 63 participants completed the study with an average of three rides per week.