Workout With Your Avatar

Virtual workout partners may motivate people better

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Most people know exercising is important, but often times people don’t have the motivation, a partner, or have a fear of working out in public. Never fear, virtual partner is here!

Welcome to the 21st century where virtual partners may be able to improve motivation during exercise and help people get healthier.

"Computer based workouts help your motivation."

Deborah Feltz from Michigan State University is the first to study the phenomenon of less able team members performing better in a group than they would by themselves, known as the Kohler effect. Feltz and colleagues researchers the Kohler effect on motivation in health video games.

Researchers used the Eye Toy Camera and PlayStation 2 to measure if a virtual partner could motivate people to exercise harder, longer, and more frequently. The study included 200 participants.

Participants were asked to perform a series of five exercises alone first. Then after a rest period they would continue the series of exercises with a same-sex virtual partner.

The results indicated participants who worked out with a superior partner performed 24 percent longer than those who did not have superior partners.

Sometimes looking for partners that are at the same level, but are able to still challenge you is difficult. The virtual partner is able to keep up with you and provide relief from social anxiety.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 19, 2011
Last Updated:
May 20, 2011