Column by Annie Murphy Paul
July 9, 2014
Today’s educational technology often presents itself as a radical departure from the tired practices of traditional instruction.
But in one way, at least, it faithfully follows the conventions of the chalk-and-blackboard era: it addresses itself only to the student’s head, leaving the rest of the body out.
Treating mind and body as separate is an old and powerful idea in Western culture, dating to Descartes and before. But this venerable trope is facing down a challenge from a generation of researchers—in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, even philosophy—who claim that we think with and through our bodies.
Nov 16, 2009
Active Wii sports video games and some Wii fit activities may increase adults’ energy expenditure as much as moderately intense exercise, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2009.
The study, funded by Nintendo, demonstrated that about one-third of the virtual physical activities require an energy expenditure of 3.0 METs or above, considered moderate-intensity exercise. METs are metabolic equivalent values, a standard method of estimating energy expenditure.
The average intensities were distributed over a wide range from lotus focus, 1.3 METs, to single-arm stand, 5.6 METs.
Researchers used a metabolic chamber to measure the energy expenditure of 12 men and women, 25 to 44 years old, as they pantomimed basic moves and motions of these sports and physical activities with motion-sensing controls. The open-circuit indirect metabolic chamber consisted of an airtight room (20,000 liters or 15,000 liters). The metabolic chamber method could replicate the conditions under which the participants enjoy the games in their home, because they were free from apparatus used to measure energy expenditure (EE) when playing the game.
Today’s post comes from friend and colleague Allana Leblanc, who recently published a systematic review examining whether active video games were associated with health benefits in children. The paper was published in PLOS ONE (the same folks who host our blog), and can be read in its entirety here. You can find out more about Allana at the bottom of this post.
It is well documented that children and youth around the world do not meet current physical activity guidelines, and spend the majority of their day engaged in sedentary pursuits. It is also well understood that poor lifestyle habits formed in childhood (like low levels of physical activity, and high sedentarism) are likely to follow an individual into adulthood and put them at a higher risk for numerous health problems (Type 2 diabetes! Heart disease! Poor mental health!).
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