Who knew playing video games could be therapeutic for your body as well as your mind?

Last year, during the beginning of the pandemic, the Nintendo Switch fitness game Ring Fit Adventure proved to be a great way to let your kids blow off some steam when everything else was closed. The combination of physical activity and monster-fighting, fast-paced adventure makes it a fun and challenging activity that both stimulates and wears them out. But as it turns out, Ring Fit Adventure might also be good for adults, since the results of one study indicates that playing Ring Fit Adventure can alleviate chronic low back pain.

▼ Ring Fit Adventure trailer

A team of researchers at the Chiba University School of Medicine conducted the study in the hopes of expanding research on the effects of exergaming (the combination of exercise and video games) on chronic low back pain. The researchers hypothesized that regular play of Ring Fit Adventure can help with symptoms of chronic low back pain, and it seems they were correct.

The study observed 40 participants experiencing chronic low back pain over an eight-week period. 20 randomly selected participants were asked to play Ring Fit Adventure once per week for 40 minutes at a time, and the other twenty patients were only given oral medication as a control group.

All of the patients’ pain and psychological scores, including pain self-efficacy, were measured and analyzed both before the study and at the end, and when eight weeks had passed, patients who had played Ring Fit Adventure reported not only physical improvement but also psychological improvement as well.

They reported less low back pain and buttock pain as well as better pain self-efficacy–the believed ability to live life despite the pain, or in other words, the patient’s feeling of control over the pain. The patients who only received an oral treatment did not report any improvements in either the pain or the psychology of it, so the researchers concluded that Ring Fit Adventure exergaming can help with chronic low back pain.

If you have been struggling with this problem, you may want to try it out! Of course, if your pain is severe you should always speak to your doctor first before starting any exercise program, but since Ring Fit Adventure has proven to be effective in improving the condition of patients, it might be worth suggesting. The game is much easier to come by now than it was a year ago, so you can find it anywhere video games are sold.

Source: National Library of Medicine via Twitter/@Fizz_DI via Automaton Media via My Game News Flash
Images: YouTube/Nintendo
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