The impact of EA SPORTS Active 2 on heart rate

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1 The impact of EA SPORTS Active 2 on heart rate Dr Christopher Bussell and Dr Kirsty Elliott-Sale Introduction Advances in technology within the computer industry have led to a new breed of games which promote active gaming. The games industry has often received negative media coverage having been associated with increased incidence of poor health and for contributing to sedentariness. Over the last 8 years however, the computer gaming sector has developed technologies which encourage and promote greater levels of physical activity in order to fulfil both its corporate social responsibilities and its marketing and sales targets. In 2002, Sony released their eye-toy which used a motion sensor system placed on top of the television screen and required the user to move, jump and stretch in order to engage with the game. Then in 2006, Nintendo launched the Wii and captured a global market. Wii s hand-held motion sensor uses 3D-accelerometers to enable the user to participate in a breadth of interactive games. Ancillary game additions, such as the Wii Fit Board, expanded the capabilities of the system and allowed games to be introduced that focused on aspects such as balance, core stability and posture. More recently, EA SPORTS Active has integrated the motion sensor technology from the Wii with resistance-bands which further increase the intensity of the activities. The user is supplied with feedback on effort and energy expenditure whilst playing. Users remain motivated by new areas of software which are unlocked over time and following successful completion of milestones and goals. Furthermore, users can record their game play on-line and receive fitness advice and support. The market appetite for dynamic interactive gaming systems (DIGS) is vast. Users of all ages, abilities and experience regularly engage with DIGS for a variety of reasons, such as enjoyment, health, fitness and social interactions. In addition to DIGS typical user groups, there may be opportunities whereby active gaming systems could provide benefits to those who find getting active challenging due to issues of self confidence, accessibility, perception, capability, or physical-literacy. It may well be that DIGS provide a point of entry for some into a more active lifestyle. Dynamic interactive gaming systems are designed to use the latest technological advances to promote increased physical activity levels and a healthier lifestyle. Although there are numerous biologically-plausible reasons why DIGS could elicit health associated benefits, there is very limited empirical work to validate such outcomes. With the launch of EA SPORTS Active 2, with its innovative Active heart rate monitor and 1

2 whole body tracking system, comes a new era of potential lifestyle-changing technology. This study was designed to evaluate physical exertion via HR during a typical 30-minute exercise routine. Procedures and protocols Twenty-five healthy participants (14 males and 11 females) took part in this study. Each participant provided written informed consent and signed a non-disclosure agreement. Participants were required to complete a health screen questionnaire prior to testing in order to exclude any participants who were not eligible to undertake the study. Participants mean (± SD) age, height, weight, body mass index, waist to hip ratio and waist to height ratio was 33 ± 9 y, 1.7 ± 0.1 m, 74.8 ± 17.9 kg, 25.6 ± 4.9 kg m 2, 0.8 ± 0.1 and 47.7 ± 6.8. The 11 females comprised one post-menopausal female, four oral contraceptive users and six eumenorrheic females. All participants were tested on two occasions, separated by at least 48 h. Participants were tested using a Wii console and a PlayStation 3 (PS3). Participants were tested at the same time of day to control for circadian variation in performance and were asked to consume a similar diet on both days. A 30-minute exercise routine was designed to replicate a typical gym session or exercise class and included a warm-up and cool-down, in addition to a whole body cardio and strength workout. The 18 activities were made up of four warm-up exercises (alternating arm rotations, windmills, good mornings and calf raises), three cardio exercises (follow the leader long, mountain biking, feet fires), four skills exercises (football high knees, football heading, basketball passing, basketball shooting), three strength exercises (push ups, crunch with punches, alternating side lunges) and four cooldown exercises (pretzels, arm across, figure 4 s and chest opener). All exercises were set to the medium intensity level. Heart rate (HR) was measured using the Active heart rate monitor at rest (HRr), after 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 minutes of activity and immediately upon cessation of the exercise programme. Mean (±SD) heart rate was calculated for each time-point and then further analysed by age and gender. 2

3 Heart rate (beats per minute) Results and findings On average, the routine took 29.7 minutes on the Wii and 26.8 minutes on the PS3. Heart rate ranged from 58 b min -1 at rest to 168 b min -1 during the cardio phase of the workout. Following the warm-up, HR increased steadily and peaked between 10 and 15 minutes of activity, before declining to almost resting levels following the cool-down (Figure 1) Time (minutes) Figure 1. Heart rate response during a 30-minute workout using EA SPORTS Active 2. In general, the warm-up lasted 5 minutes (HRr to time-point 5 minutes), the cardio and strength workout minutes (time-point 5 minutes to time-point minutes) and the cool-down 5 minutes (time-point minutes). The average HR profile of participants followed that expected in response to a planned work out as designed for this study (Figure 2). 3

4 Heart rate (beats per minute) HRr 1 min 5 min 10 min 15 min 20 min 25 min 30 min Figure 2. Heart rate response pattern during the 30-minute exercise routine (n = 50). Values are presented as mean ± SD. On average, HR increased by 38 ± 11% during the workout (n = 50). When the data was analysed by age (in decades) the (n = 20), (n = 22) and (n = 4) year olds had a similar percentage increase in HR during the exercise routine (mean ± SD; 38 ± 13, 38 ± 10 and 38 ± 7 respectively). The (n = 4) year olds had a mean (± SD) percentage increase in HR of 43% (± 8). When divided into genders, males (n = 28) showed a mean percentage increase in HR of 38% (± 11) and females (n = 22) an increase of 40% (± 9). Table 1. Maximum heart rate achieved during the 30-minute workout. Age (years) Number of subjects Mean maximum HR achieved (b min -1 ) Percentage of *age predicted maximum HR *Age predicted HR = age 4

5 Time (minutes) Table 2. Maximum heart rate in males and females during the 30-minute workout. Gender Mean maximum HR achieved (b min -1 ) Percentage of age predicted maximum HR Male Female Tables 1 and 2 show that, regardless of age or gender, the majority of participants achieved between 70-80% of their age predicted maximum HR (220 age). The year olds achieved the highest percentage of their age predicted maximum HR, while the year olds achieved the lowest (80% vs. 70%). Females produced a higher work intensity than the males (137 b min -1 vs. 125 b min -1 ). This meant that all ages and both genders achieved a five zone intensity range. Figure 3 shows the amount of time participants spent in each HR zone. More time was spent in zone 1 than in any other zone (20 min vs. 5 min) zone 1 zone 2 zone 3 zone 4 zone 5 Figure 3. Time spent in each HR zone (n = 50). Values are presented as mean ± SD. 5

6 Discussion The purpose of this investigation was to monitor HR during a typical EA SPORTS Active 2 workout. The 30-minute routine designed for this study resulted in a HR response usually seen during a gym session or exercise class. Whilst it is widely recognised that increased physical exertion results in higher heart rates, this is one of the first studies to systematically evaluate the impact of acute game play on the heart rate response of gamers aged years. The findings of this study show that users experienced a 38% (range 25% - 52%) increase in heart rate, all participants experienced a 5- zone HR workout and most time was spent in the healthy heart zone. The average heart rate during the 30-minutes of active game play was ~101 ± 24 (range: ) b min -1. In order to provide health benefits, relating to cardiovascular, metabolic and bone health, participants are required to perform physical activity with their HR elevated to between 50-60% of maximum HR. This HR range is captured in zone 1 the healthy heart zone. The current findings showed that all participants achieved heart rates of between 70-80% of maximum HR and spent on average 20 minutes in the healthy heart zone 1. EA SPORTS Active 2 can enable users to work at intensities capable of producing a wide range of health benefits if used on a regular basis. Taking the current findings from this study it is possible to suggest that during one hour of active game play it would be possible for participants to spend more time in zones 2-5 and therefore promote an increase in the rate of fat metabolism and aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Discussions with participants after their exercise session indicated that there was a high level of enjoyment experienced during their workout. Participants also expressed that they felt breathless and that they had experienced a good-workout especially as a result of playing the cardio, skills and strength games. The findings from this investigation indicate that following a 30-minute session using EA SPORTS Active 2 both males and females and users across a range of ages demonstrated HR profiles and responses usually seen during gym-based workouts. In conclusion, there is evidence that EA SPORTS Active 2 encourages an intensity of physical activity that could lead to health associated benefits. 6

7 Points of interest A 30-minute workout using EA SPORTS Active 2 resulted in an average increase in heart rate of 38-49% Users achieved a work intensity capable of promoting health benefits if used on a regular basis Users aged years achieved the highest percentage (80%) of their age predicted maximum heart rate Female users produced a higher work intensity than males users (137 b min -1 vs. 125 b min -1 ) Male and female users showed identical heart rate response patterns Young and older users showed identical heart rate response patterns Users spent on average 20 out of 30 minutes (equivalent to 66% of their time) in the healthy heart zone 1 The highest heart rate recorded during the 30-minute session was 168 b min -1 which puts users within zone 4-5 and shows that users experienced an anaerobic (in addition to aerobic) workout Using just 18 activities from the EA SPORTS Active 2 range allowed the user to mimic the heart rate response seen during a typical gym session or exercise class 30 minutes of activity on the EA SPORTS Active 2 left users hot, sweaty and feeling like they had performed a good work-out Future directions This study examined the impact of a single (acute) bout of activity using EA SPORTS Active 2 on heart rate. Future studies ought to focus on the effects of longitudinal use of Active 2 (e.g. 9 week trainer lead programme) on heart rate and other physical parameters e.g. energy expenditure, flexibility, strength, weight. This would ensure independent efficacy to industry advice. In addition, this research should be performed on different subject groups, e.g. nurses, post-natal females (new mums), the elderly, obese children, pre- and re-habilitation groups and mental health and well-being groups, in order to investigate the impact of this technology on special populations and society in general. 7

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