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A study by Chiba University School of Medicine explored the effects of "exergaming" – exercise gaming – on chronic low back pain, and concluded that regularly playing the Nintendo Switch game Ring Fit Adventure can alleviate symptoms of chronic low back pain.
Exergaming has seen increasing popularity recently, especially with the onset of the pandemic forcing many of us to stay home. It not only introduces an element of fun to occasionally mundane exercise, but also promotes an active lifestyle to counter the stereotype of gaming as a sedentary activity.
Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure is one such exergame, which makes use of a pilates ring and a leg strap — both of which are attached with a game controller to detect movements. Ring Fit Adventure features four groups of exercises that train your arms, core, legs and balance, to help you defeat monsters and advance in the game.
The study documented the experiences of 40 participants with chronic low back pain over an eight-week period. Half of the participants formed the exergaming group, and had to play Ring Fit Adventure once per week, with each session lasting 40 minutes. The other half formed the control group, and were only given oral medication.
Based on the participants’ pain and psychological scores before and after the eight-week experiment, the exergaming group reported both physical and psychological improvements. Apart from less lower back and buttock pain, they also reported better pain self-efficacy, which is defined as “the beliefs held by people with chronic pain that certain activities can be carried out despite the pain.”
On the other hand, the control group did not report any physical or psychological improvements, which led to the conclusion that exergaming, in particular the Ring Fit Adventure, can help with chronic low back pain.
If you have chronic low back pain, why not give Ring Fit Adventure a try? While you can set the level of difficulty of the exercises in Ring Fit Adventure, it is still advisable to exercise within your limits and not overwork your body!
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