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Exergaming Definitions

Page history last edited by Brett W.M.Young 13 years, 11 months ago


Exergaming is more than a combination of just “exercise” and “games,” since such a definition would include football. Instead, it is an activity that combines exercise with electronic game playing.  

By "exercise" we mean any activity that increases heart rate via muscular exertion. So while playing Dungeons and Dragons may indeed quicken your pulse, most of the heart-rate increase results from the excitement of the game rather than muscular exertion.

By “electronic game,” we mean an activity played using either a computer, game console, or other electronic interface that has rules, goals, and feedback.


Taken from Games for Health listserve March 31 2009 - http://www.gamesforhealth.org/index3.html 


Short Definition

Exergaming : physical exercise with video games; video games that require gross motor activity


Pre-emptive Dictionary Definition

Exergaming (Proper noun) : A fitness/wellness methodology that promotes interactive entertainment technologies (Exergames) in creating physical and/or mental exertion. This methodology can act autonomously or in conjunction with existing exercise practices.


Exergaming is now referenced in a number of dictionaries including:

Macmillian English Dictionary: 

The activity of playing video games that provide physical exercise


Collins English Dictionary

Playing video games that require a lot of physical exercise



Legal Definition



Latest 'Working' Definition (25.09.09) Version 3

This definition considers the function and purpose of exergaming. It does not try to define exergaming products (exergames) but rather what is required to create an ‘exergaming experience’. The imperative with defining exergaming, is to recognize  its two synergistic components.



1.      Video/Digital [Multimedia] Gaming: An activity that involves interaction with a user interface to generate sensory feedback on a      multimedia device. The gaming platform is irrelevant, it can be of any origin and form (console, PC, mobile phone, portable gaming device  etc).

2.      Exercise: Physical activity that is a planned, structured movement of the body designed to enhance physical fitness.



Exergaming is a 'beneficial' exertion experience (methodology) gained through the interfacing of physical activity and multimedia gaming











Comments (4)

Brett W.M.Young said

at 6:37 am on Apr 12, 2009

I've included 'mental exertion' for several reasons, but I fully realise that my reasoning may be largely unsubstantiated or just simply 'wrong' :) - I'm not precious about this definition by any means.

1: The 'Kinesthetic' nature of games such as 'Big Brain Academy' which require articulation of movement and cognitive ability,
2: Reports and articles extoling how Exergaming (within a school enviroment) has improved behaviour and increased cognitive competence directly resulting in increased attentiveness and attendance. One article was in Medical News Today last May http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/109138.php

Brett W.M.Young said

at 3:43 pm on Sep 6, 2009

The latest 'Working' Definition works in conjunction with the proposed Rating System for Exergaming. Basically the definition comes from the method or function of the Exergaming experience not as a result of the exergame itself.

Richard Coshott said

at 7:04 pm on Sep 7, 2009

I just added a couple of actual dictionary references - looks like video games win the day :P Now I'm sure that'll kick off a debate on "What is a video game?" :)

Brett W.M.Young said

at 3:15 am on Sep 8, 2009

In that respect I've updated the Working Definition to 'video gaming' not just 'gaming'.

One question: I would think that we require exergaming to offer a 'fitness' benefit, not just an activity benefit??

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