Duo uses ‘Just Dance’ for research

by Holly Brown

A&E Editor

Put your dancing shoes on and get ready to play video games in the name of scientific research.

The hit Wii game “Just Dance,” which uses the system’s motion controllers to track the player’s movements, is a primary tool that senior Tori Elrod and Dr. Kirk Abraham are using to conduct research. The study aims to estimate the average energy expenditure caused by playing “Just Dance.”

“I wanted to do this study because I love the ‘Just Dance’ games, and after I finished playing I always felt really tired,” said Elrod. “This always made me wonder, could I count this as my actual workout for the day? So when Dr. Abraham told me he wanted to do a study involving this game, I jumped at the chance to work with him on it.”

In order to estimate the energy expenditure required by “Just Dance,” Elrod will be estimating the percentage of participants’ VO2max that they use while playing this game — a measure that, according to Elrod, calculates the body’s maximum amount of oxygen consumption, which is used to estimate maximum aerobic potential.

“So if we find that subjects are only working at about 20-30 percent of their VO2max, we can say that the game does not provide much of an aerobic workout,” Elrod said. “But if they are working at 50-60 percent, then we can say this is a good aerobic workout, comparable to a jog or playing a game of soccer. Eighty to 100 percent would be the very intense exercise.”

In all, the testing should take about two hours to complete. Participants will be asked to complete a pretesting interview, engage in a five-minute step test that should help the experimenters estimate their VO2max, and then dance three songs through to familiarize themselves with the dance moves. Following this, they will dance through the three songs while wearing a heart monitor and end with a post-testing interview.

“I can then use their average heart rates to estimate the percentage of their VO2max they were working at and, in turn, how intense the activity is,” said Elrod.

For the experiment, Elrod needs volunteers from various populations. Faculty, staff and students are all equally welcome to participate.

Those interested in participating can contact Elrod via email at [email protected]

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