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Videogames Good Exercise for Wheelchair Users

University of Pittsburgh researchers have developed a system whereby wheelchair-bound people can experience the health benefits of exercise by playing a specially designe...
University of Pittsburgh researchers have developed a system whereby wheelchair-bound people can experience the health benefits of exercise by playing a specially designed videogame system. The Gamewheels system, created by department of rehabilitation science and technology chairman Dr. Rory Cooper, has portable rollers upon which wheelchair users place their chairs, which send a computer data on speed and position of the wheelchair through the computer's mouse port. Doctoral candidate Thomas O'Connor collected data on oxygen consumption, heart rate, and respiratory rate of subjects using the Gamewheels system, which used a racing game to respond to how hard users pushed on their wheelchairs' wheels. "The wheelchair users reported that they were so involved with playing the videogame using Gamewheels, that they forgot they were exercising," O'Connor said. Some participants "wanted to buy the system right then," he continued, and all participants believed that the system "would motivate them to exercise on a regular basis." Any computer videogame can be used with the system, according to O'Connor. Currently, the researchers are investigating getting the Gamewheels system manufactured.

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