Can Kids Get a Good Workout From Playing Video Games?

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If the video game requires the player to stand and move, there is evidence to suggest that playing video games actually can provide a physical workout that can be appropriate for children. Sedentary children who spend a lot of time indoors may benefit from adding active video games, or "exergames," to their entertainment routines. To get the full benefit of an exercise replacement, children who play exergames must engage in the physical aspect of the game in a moderate to intense level of exertion.

Active video games can be a solution for kids who live in areas where it can be unsafe to play outside, and for parents who have inadequate childcare support and cannot supervise children during outdoor play. However, if children can play outdoors, it may be better to encourage them to do so rather than opting to play exergames. Studies have found that sedentary kids increase their exercise time by only a few minutes when they play these kinds of video games. While that is better than inactivity, it may be insufficient exercise for most children. The recommended daily active time for school-age kids is one hour.