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HHS HealthBeat (June 5, 2014)

Cyber exercise buddies

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Working out with a partner can spur you to do more than you would alone – even, according to one study, if your exercise buddy is not exactly real.

At Michigan State University, researcher Deborah Feltz tested 120 college-age people with exercises involving holding a plank. Sometimes they were paired with avatar-like cyber buddies:

“Participants with cyber-partners on average held these planks for about 33 seconds longer than when they held them by themselves.”

That’s about 30 seconds less than when they were paired with a live human – but, she says, still pretty good. She says they did better when the cyber-partner looked more human.

The study in the Games for Health Journal was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: June 5, 2014