If you needed yet another reason to jump on the active-play video game bandwagon, here’s one you’ll likely have trouble refusing.  Active-play video games show potential in increasing players’ physical activity, according to a new report in “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.” However, continued research is needed to investigate the health effects and other potential benefits of active-play video games, researchers concluded.

The review, designed to examine the possible influence of active-play video games on healthy behavior, focused largely on results of a two-day summit involving experts in gaming, education, fitness, science, health, community building and technology.

The January summit, “The Power of Play: Innovations in Getting Active,” was created as a part of the American Heart Association and Nintendo of America’s strategic relationship to exchange ideas and challenge existing social norms about how to get physically active.

“This was a tremendous first step in clarifying the potential health and fitness benefits of active-play video games,” said Barry A. Franklin, Ph.D., Director of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and an American Heart Association volunteer. “The summit helped set the stage for future trends within the gaming and health space and supports dialogue for continued research.”
A 2010 survey conducted by the American Heart Association and Nintendo of America found that active-play video games could lead to more real-world physical activity. Science panel discussions at the summit also supported this hypothesis.

While at the summit, researchers concluded that active-play video games designed to engage players in regular physical activity could support individuals in sustaining a physically active lifestyle, and a greater focus should be placed on this area.

The American Heart Association is committed to reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and stroke and improving cardiovascular wellness, as recently defined in its strategic plans for the next decade. For that reason, it urges that research and programs to promote cardiovascular health and prevent disease in the next decade – and beyond – include new innovations and technologies.