New lab to explore calorie burning video games

Video games are taking the blame for increasing childhood and adolescent obesity rates, but what if game players had to move more than their thumbs to cyber-race cars, motorcycles and bikes? Dr. Ryan Rhodes (physical education) studies physical activity motivation. He hopes new equipment that gives game players a cardio-vascular workout while they play their favourite video games will prove game playing needn’t be sedentary. “We’ve been testing exercise bikes in Vancouver that interact with chase and action sequences in Playstation games, and we can’t get the students off them,” says Rhodes. “I’m interested in looking at the impact these exercise bikes have on people’s enjoyment of video games and the likelihood they’ll continue to use them.”

Funding for the interactive exercise bicycles, as well as fitness testing equipment and four research stations for researchers to crunch the data gathered from Rhodes’ exercise motivation models, comes from a $32,800 B.C. Knowledge Development Fund grant —one of several BCKDF minor project grants announced today in Vancouver by the ministry of advanced education. UVic received 10 grants with a combined value of $1.38 million.

Rhodes, who hopes to have his new research lab up and running early in the new year, says the interactive bikes are consistent with his findings that people are more likely to exercise if it involves an activity they enjoy and can control. His timely advice for handling up-coming holiday excess—“Make time for exercise. Try not to leave it until the end of the day and make it something you like. Victoria’s a great place to get out and go for a walk. Even a little exercise is great; more is better.”

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Media contacts

Dr. Ryan Rhodes (Physical Education) at (250) 721-8384 or

Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7656 or

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Keywords: video games, exercise

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