Virtual Workout

Here is a novel means to get motivated and indulge in more exercise. Scientists from the Michigan State University assert that working out with a virtual partner improves motivation during exercise. They also mention that virtually present, superior partners enhance motivation on exercise game tasks.

During the investigation, scientists employed the Eye Toy camera and PlayStation 2 to measure whether a virtual partner motivated people to exercise harder, longer or more frequently. A plank exercise known to strengthen core abdominal muscles was used for almost all 200 participants. The first series of five exercises were performed by holding each position for as long as they could. Then after a rest period, volunteers had to do the remaining trials with a same-sex virtual partner whom they could observe during their performance. The partner’s performance was manipulated to be always superior to the participant’s.

Experts observed that task persistence was dramatically greater in all experimental conditions among the participants. Those who exercised with a more-capable virtual partner allegedly performed the exercise 24 percent longer than subjects without. Deborah Feltz, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Kinesiology and colleagues share that a virtual partner can overcome some of the practical obstacles of finding an optimally-matched partner to exercise with at a particular location. And live exercise partners may not always be helpful.

The study will be published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.