Can Video Games Help with Asthma?

recent study made an intriguing discovery about the relationship between video games and asthma. Over the course of an 8 week experiment, carried out by researchers from the Nove de Julho University in Brazil, it was found that children who played an active video game for at least 30 minutes a day had reduced pulmonary inflammation and improved lung function.

Active Video Gaming’s Effect on Asthma Patients

The study used 26 asthmatic children as test subjects. The children were divided into two groups. Group #1 was tasked to play an active video game, XBOX 360’s Kinect Adventure, for 30 minutes a day. Group #2 was tasked to participate in exercises that require 70 percent of an individual’s maximum effort, for the same period of time. While both groups of children had a greater level of control over their condition, once the study was completed, only group #1 (the video game group) had a lower level of exhaled nitric oxide, a chemical that the body produces to fight inflammation. This result is especially meaningful, suggesting that the game related exercise actually lowers asthma-induced lung inflammation over time. 

Combating Video Game Inactivity

Traditionally, video games are not generally viewed as an activity that has a positive impact on a person’s health. This tends to be the case, considering that engaging in any activity that requires participants to remain in the same position for hours at a time can increase their risk factor for contracting serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer. However, the recent popularity of active video games, also called exergames, has gone a long way in addressing the problem of game related inactivity. As opposed to interacting with the game via a control pad or keyboard, active video games use peripherals to game-ify a workout by requiring the player to jump, squat and stretch in order to progress.

Active Video Gaming as a Youth Obesity Solution

Because of its success as a form of aerobic exercise and in treating asthma, parents of asthmatic children might consider purchasing a console that hosts active video games, such as the XBOX One, Playstation 4 and the Wii U.  One of the study’s most promising discoveries was that the group that played active video games, regularly, did not experience the kind of respiratory distress that asthmatics encounter when engaging in aerobic exercise. If your child has little interest in team sports or running recreationally, making active video games a part of their daily routine could have a positive impact on their health. In addition to reducing the impact asthma has on their lives, game related exercise could help prevent against the development of obesity, a malady that now affects 21 percent of U.S. children. As obesity worsens the symptoms of asthma greatly increase an individual’s likelihood of contracting illnesses like depression, hypertension and cancer. Therefore, taking steps to prevent its development, early in life, is highly recommended.

If you believe your child’s asthma is not as under control as it should be, contact us to set an appointment. Dr. Shulka has the skills and experience to prescribe a course of treatment that will be designed to give them the highest quality of life possible. 

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