How Many Calories Are Burned Playing Video Games?

Leisure actvity
Two men are playing video games. (Image: vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images)

Traditionally, video games are played from a seated position, but the Nintendo Wii, Kinect for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation Move introduced motion-sensitive controllers to the consoles, encouraging users to stand up and burn calories while they play.

Traditional Games

A study of children ages 10 through 14 conducted by Lorraine Lanningham-Foster and colleagues reported in the June 2009 issue of "The Journal of Pediatrics" that on average, participants burned 81.5 calories per hour playing sedentary video games.

Active Games

The same study found that players of Wii Sports boxing, an active game, burned an average of 248 calories per hour, or about three times as many calories as in traditional games.

Benefits

Dr. Elizabeth Orsega-Smith and colleagues reported to the American College of Sports Medicine in 2010 that overweight senior citizens burned on average between 17 and 176 calories per half hour playing Wii Sports bowling, baseball and tennis.

Comparison

Diana L. Graf and colleagues, in a study published in the July 2009 issue of "Pediatrics," concluded that the energy expenditure during games such as Wii Sports and Dance Dance Revolution is equivalent to walking at a speed of about 3.5 miles per hour.

Expert Insight

Researchers point out that playing active sport video games doesn't burn as many calories as playing the actual sports, but does promote physical activity for players of all ages.

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