Objective: Exergames are popular technology applications that encourage individuals to engage in exercise and create positive moods for players. However, little is known as to whether playing exergames makes players perceive to be more energetic and relaxed and whether enthusiasm about doing exercise moderates such perceptions. To answer these questions, we use the Flow Theory and the Self-Determination Theory to develop the hypotheses. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial, which randomly assigned 337 participants to an intervention group and a control group. We asked the participants in the intervention group to play exergames for 2 weeks. We measured enthusiasm about doing exercise by asking the participants to evaluate themselves as having enthusiasm on doing exercise or not. We measured participants' perceptions of happiness, perceived energy (the perception of sufficient physical and mental resources), and relaxation before and after the 2-week exergame playing, generating scores to represent their changes. Results: We found that playing exergames induces positive changes in happiness, perceived energy, and relaxation. Such changes were significant for participants who are enthusiastic about doing exercise, but not for those who are unenthusiastic about doing exercise. Conclusion: This study was the first using the Flow Theory and the Self-Determination Theory to examine the impact of playing exergames on players' perceptions and to identify the moderator role of enthusiasm about doing exercise. These positive impacts of exergames can be used in rehabilitation settings in encouraging positive attitudes and behaviors toward exercise.
- Perceived energy
- Randomized controlled trial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Computer Science Applications
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health