The Impact of the Combining Video Gaming with Arm Ergometry on Exercise Behavior and Performance

Erica L Authier, B.S.E., Shirley G Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Erin Mishey, Rory A Cooper, Ph.D., Michael L Boninger, M.D.
University of Pittsburgh and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Pittsburgh, PA


The number of exercise programs and methods are limited for people with disabilities. The GameCycle combines arm-ergometry with video gaming with the goal that it will provide a fun and motivational exercise platform. Nine persons with spinal cord injuries (1 women, 8 men, 36.2 +/- 5.5 years) completed a four-month in-home trial in which they were asked to exercise with the GameCycle for two months and a standard arm-ergometer for two months, the order of which was randomized. Preliminary results suggest that there was not a significant difference between the number of sessions completed with each method (p=0.172), but that subjects exercised for significantly longer durations (p=0.035) with the GameCycle. Subjects had significantly higher average RPMs (p=0.021) with the standard arm-ergometer since video games require variable RPMs to complete game objectives. This suggests that the GameCycle is more enjoyable and motivational for long-term exercise than standard arm-ergometry.


spinal cord injury; exercise; ergometry; wheelchair; computer games


This work was supported by a National Institutes of Health SBIR Grant (2R44HD039535-02A1) Three Rivers Holdings, LLC and by a National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury Grant (H133N000019). Special thanks are extended to the Human Engineering Research Laboratories.

Author Contact Information:

Erica L Authier, BS
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
7180 Highland Dr, 151R-1
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Phone 412-365-4850


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