The unfortunate irony for many aging individuals is that while they could benefit a lot, both physically and mentally, from exercise, many are not physically able to do so. Enter “cybercycling,” a virtual fitness program that’s had some promising outcomes, including improved mental sharpness in aging adults.
Researchers had a group of seniors ride on a stationary bike equipped with a monitor that depicted a real-life scene, complete with obstacles, scenery, and more. Participants rode for 45 minutes three times a week. Those who participating in the “cyber” cycling showed better physical and mental health than individuals who simply road a stationary bicycle without the virtual reality monitor.
From the article:
The findings suggest that even elderly people who might be physically limited may benefit from some types of exercise that are linked to a virtual world in which they can interact with their environment. Among the study participants, Anderson-Haney says the cybercycles became more popular than the traditional stationary bikes, and that the subjects were motivated by trying to beat ghost riders in their virtual world.
Want to learn more? Check out “Virtual Exercise Games Help Elderly Remain Mentally Sharp” from TIME.