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Updated 03 August 2018

Is playing 'virtual sports' good exercise?

Love playing tennis, or kicking a ball on the soccer field? Doing it in your living room can, however, also be beneficial to your health.

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With the rise of video, television and computer games, research has shown that people have become more inactive. Where we previously played tennis and soccer, or went for a hike in the mountains, we now sit in front of a screen.

But the advent of so-called "virtual sports" is changing the way we play games, allowing us to exercise at the same time. These are electronic games that generate visual feedback on a display device. They're inspired by real sports events and instead of simply pressing button, you actively mimic the action required by the sport. 

Some studies have shown that these games are not as effective as the real deal (your burn about half the amount of calories), but you still get considerable benefit. Other studies have shown little benefit from virtual sports, and that especially children don't get their daily exercise requirements from virtual sport alone. 

The verdict might still be out on virtual sports, but there's little argument that they can be immense fun and do have some health benefits. 

 
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