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Purpose With the coronavirus outbreak, the preventive measures include staying at home and isolation, increasing sedentary behaviours and risk for worsening of chronic diseases. To explore alternative forms of home-based physical activity, the study aim was to evaluate physiological (heart rate [HR], respiratory exchange ratio [RER], oxygen consumption [V̇O2], Energy expenditure [EE], metabolic equivalent task [MET]) and psychological (session rating of perceived exertion [sRPE], enjoyment) parameters of real (Zumba® class [ZC]) and exergame (Zumba® Fitness Rush [ZFR]) activities in relation to sex. Methods Overall, 12 female (age: 24.7 ± 0.9 years) and 8 male (age: 25.3 ± 2.1 years) college students randomly performer 2 experimental 60-min sessions, ZC and ZFR, during which HR (expressed as percentage of individual maximal HR [%HRmax]), V̇O2, RER, MET and EE were measured. After each session, sRPE and Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) were used to monitor exercise intensity and enjoyment, respectively. Results Main effects for sex (p = 0.02) and modality (p < 0.0001) emerged for %HRmax, with women showing higher values than men and ZC showing higher values than ZFR. EE presented main effects for sex (p < 0.0001) and modality (p = 0.0002), with higher values in men and in ZC. Main effect (p = 0.0001) for modality emerged also for V̇O2 and MET, with higher values in ZC regardless of sex. No significant differences were observed for RER, sRPE, or PACES. Conclusions Although ZC elicited higher cardiovascular and metabolic responses, ZFR, classified as a moderate-to-vigorous activity, could be used to maintain regular physical activity in a safe home environment during the coronavirus crisis.
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HUMAN MOVEMENT (ISSN 1899-1955)
28
HOME IS THE NEW GYM: EXERGAME AS A POTENTIAL TOOL
TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE FITNESS LEVELS ALSO
DURING QUARANTINE
CRISTINA CORTIS1, GIUSEPPE FRANCESCO GIANCOTTI1, ANGELO RODIO1,
ANTONINO BIANCO2, ANDREA FUSCO1
1 Department of Human Sciences, Society and Health, University of Cassino and Lazio Meridionale, Cassino, Italy
2 Department of Psychology, Educational Science and Human Movement, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
ABSTRACT
Purpose. With the coronav irus outbreak, the preventive measures include st aying at home and isolation, increasing sedentary
behaviours and risk for worsening of chronic diseases. To explore alternative forms of home-based physical activity, the
study aim was to evaluate physiological (heart rate [HR], respiratory exchange ratio [RER], oxygen consumption [ O2], energy
expenditure [ EE], metabolic equivalent task [MET]) and psychologica l (session rating of perceived exer tion [sRPE], enjoyment)
parameters of real (Zumba® class [ZC]) and exergame (Zumba® Fitness Rush [ZFR]) activities in relation to sex.
Methods. Overall, 12 female (age: 24.7 ± 0.9 years) and 8 male (age: 25.3 ± 2.1 years) college students randomly performed
2 exper imental 60-min sessions, ZC and ZF R, during wh ich HR (expressed as percentage of individual maximal HR [%HRmax]),
O2, RER, MET and EE were measured. After each session, sRPE and Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) were used
to monitor exercise intensity and enjoyment, respectively.
Results. Main effects for sex (p = 0.02) and modality (p < 0.0001) emerged for %HRmax, with women showing higher values
than men and ZC showing higher values than ZF R. EE presented main effects for sex (p < 0.0001) and modality ( p = 0.0002),
with higher values in men and in ZC. Main effect ( p = 0.0001) for modality emerged also for O2 and MET, with higher values
in ZC regardless of sex. No significant differences were observed for RER, sRPE, or PACES.
Conclusions. Although ZC elicited higher cardiovascular and metabolic responses, ZFR, classified as a moderate-to-vigorous
activity, could be used to maintain regular physical activity in a safe home environment during the coronavirus crisis.
Key words: COVID-19, home training, energy expenditure, heart rate, oxygen consumption, Zumba
original paper
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5114/hm.2020.94826
2020; 21(4):
Correspondence address: Cristina Cortis, Department of Human Sciences, Society and Health, University of Cassino
and Lazio Meridionale, Via S. Angelo – Località Folcara, 03043 Cassino (FR), Italy, e-mail: c.cortis@unicas.it
Received: March 19, 2020
Accepted for publication: April 23, 2020
Citation: Cortis C, Giancotti GF, Rodio A, Bianco A, Fusco A. Home is the new gym: exergame as a potential tool to maintain
adequate fitness levels also during quarantine. Hum Mov. 2020;21(4): ; doi: https://doi.org/10.5114/hm.2020.94826.
© University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw
Introduction
Although regular levels of physical activity (PA) have
significant health benefits and contribute to preventing
non-communicable diseases, 1 in 4 adults and more
than 80% of the adolescent population in the world are
not active enough [1]. Insufficient PA is one of the lead-
ing risk factors for death worldwide and according to
the World Health Organization (WHO), policies to ad-
dress insufficient PA are operational in 56% of WHO
member states with the aim to reduce insufficient PA
by 10% by 2025 [1]. To increase the amount of PA in
the general population, guidelines and recommenda-
tions are available [2, 3]; to achieve and maintain good
health, adults should include moderate-intensity (met-
abolic equivalent task [MET] values ranging from 4.8
to 7.1) activity for 150–300 minutes per week or vigor-
ous-intensity (MET values ranging from 7.2 to 10.1)
activity for 75–150 minutes per week, or an equiva-
lent combination, on 2 or more days per week [2, 3].
With the on-going coronavirus outbreak [4, 5], direc-
tives against participating in several activities, includ-
ing sport, exercise, and PA, have been put in place by
the health authorities [6], thus increasing sedentary
behaviours, reducing regular PA, and leading to an
increased risk for and potential worsening of chronic
health conditions [7]. In this context, to encourage PA,
not only exercise, but also other forms of home-based
activities are recommended as effective measures to
stay healthy and maintain the immune system func-
C. Cortis et al., Home-based physical activity
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tion in the current precarious environment [7]. While
the usage of media such as video games has tradition-
ally been associated with sedentary lifestyles and in-
activity [8], the combination of video games and gross
motor activity (active video games [AVGs] or exergam-
ing) could contribute to meeting PA recommendations
[9, 10], especially when exercise at home is the only
option to avoid the airborne coronavirus while main-
taining adequate fitness levels [7].
AVGs have been reported to improve mood and en-
joyment compared with conventional forms of exercise
[11, 12], providing encouragement to exercise, partic-
ularly for those who may be reluctant to engage in more
traditional forms of PA [13]. As psychological factors
such as fun and enjoyment are direct determinants of
engagement in PA [14], AVGs seem to be a potential
strategy to be used in reducing physical inactivity time,
increasing adherence to exercise programs, and pro-
moting the enjoyment of PA [15, 16], even in the current
situation, when coping stress and anxiety is of partic-
ular concern [6].
Measurements of PA intensity, rating of perceived
exertion (RPE), session RPE (sRPE), and energy expend-
iture (EE) have shown that AVGs elicit physiological
intensity levels equal to those of moderate and/or vig-
orous PA in healthy adults [12, 17]. In particular, MET
values ranging from 2.8 to 3.8, RPE (on a 6–20 scale)
ranging from 9.6 to 11.4, and EE ranging from 24.6 to
32.2 kcal have been reported in adventure and dance
games [12], while MET values ranging from 5.7 to 6.4,
RPE (on a category-ratio 10 scale) ranging from 4.2 to 4.7,
and EE ranging from 5.3 to 8.3 kcal · min–1 have been
observed in single- and multi-player dancing games [17].
When compared with traditional exercise such as tread-
mill walking [18], whole-body AVGs of same duration
(i.e., 10 minutes) have been reported to contribute to
higher peak heart rate (HR) (115 ± 18 vs. 138 ± 23
beats · min–1), MET (7 ± 2 vs. 11 ± 4), and oxygen con-
sumption ( O2) (25 ± 5 vs. 40 ± 13 ml · kg–1 · min–1).
As opposed to the motion sensors characterizing
several AVGs (i.e., gyroscopes, accelerometers, pressure-
sensitive tables and mats, modified ergometers, and
laser beams), the Xbox 360 associated with Kinect
(Microsoft, Redmond, USA) uses a camera combined
with an infrared-based 3D depth sensor for full-body
3D motion capturing and joint tracking. Without the
need to attach markers on the body, Kinect gives the
tremendous opportunity to replicate real movements
without interferences, capturing players’ actual move-
ment and giving instant feedback, especially during
dance-based fitness activities. Aiming to provide a total
body interactive workout while dancing naturally
hands-free, Xbox Kinect 360 has released different
AVGs focusing on Zumba®, a fitness dance that com-
bines Latin rhythms and aerobics and incorporates
elements of strength, balance, and endurance training.
Therefore, Zumba® Fitness, Zumba® Fitness Rush (ZFR),
and Zumba® Fitness Core AVGs have been developed,
enabling single- and double-player modality [17, 19].
Evaluating short-term effects of virtual Zumba® (22-mi n
session), Da Silva Neves et al. [20] reported a signifi-
cant increase in diastolic and systolic blood pressure
and HR values, supporting the feasibility of AVG use in
PA programs, although no information related to energy
cost was provided. Investigating EE and intensity of dif-
ferent forms of AVGs, Howe et al. [21] showed in Zumba®
Fitness AVG an average exercise HR of 139 beats · min–1,
O2 above resting of 19.6 ml · kg–1 · min–1, 7.4 MET,
and EE of 6.8 kcal · min–1, suggesting that AVGs quali-
fied as moderate-to-vigorous PA and could contribute
to the recommended dose of PA for weight manage-
ment in young adults. However, these researches in-
cluded only short bouts of exercise performed with
AVGs (7–22 minutes), thus not reflecting the typical
duration of a PA session, namely 45–60 minutes, or the
real use of AVGs. Only recently, Schneekloth and
Brown [19] observed no differences in maximal HR,
minutes of light and moderate PA, or number of steps
taken in a small sample (i.e., 8 adult women) engaging
in ca. 60 minutes of a real and AVG Zumba® class.
However, PA intensity was only estimated by means of
HR and accelerometer data, and no EE data were re-
ported.
When prolonged home stay is necessary, such as
during the current coronavirus outbreak, the develop-
ment of AVG and technological solutions could play
a crucial role in exercise [7, 22, 23]. Therefore, aiming
to provide an alternative, feasible, and engaging form
of PA, able to give an efficient stimulus to improve the
individuals’ fitness levels, the purpose of this study was
to evaluate sex-related physiological (i.e., HR, O2, res-
piratory exchange ratio [RER], and EE) and psychologi-
cal (i.e., sRPE and enjoyment) parameters of Zumba®
class (ZC) and ZFR.
Material and methods
Experimental approach to the problem
To evaluate the sex-related physiological and psycho-
logical parameters of ZC and ZFR, the study was per-
formed over an 11-day period, during which familiari-
zation, preliminary assessments, and experimental
sessions were organized, as shown in Figure 1.
Familiarization sessions were held to ensure ade-
quate training with ZC and ZFR choreography in order
C. Cortis et al., Home-based physical activity
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30 Human Movement, Vol. 21, No 4, 2020
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to avoid any potential learning effect on the results, and
to familiarize subjects with the entire experimental
protocol and procedures.
During the preliminary assessments session, data
regarding anthropometric characteristics, aerobic ca-
pacity ( O2max), and PA level were recorded. To avoid
any inter-observer variability, a single experienced re-
searcher (G.F.G.) carried out all data collection, per-
formed in the afternoon in the Sport and Exercise
Physiology Laboratory (temperature: 27.1 ± 1.6°C,
humidity: 43.8 ± 10.3%). Body weight and height were
measured by using scales with integrated stadiometer
with a precision of 0.1 kg and 0.1 cm (Seca, model 709,
Vogel & Halke, Hamburg, Germany), while Queens
College Step Test (QCST) was administered to estimate
O2max. The test required stepping up and down
a 41.3-cm step at the frequency of 22 steps · min–1
(88 beats · min–1) for women and 24 steps · min–1
(96 beats · min–1) for men, for a total of 3 minutes (met-
ronome was used to monitor the stepping cadence) [24].
After completion of the exercise, the carotid pulse rate
was measured for 15 seconds, from the 5th to the 20th
second (HRQCST) of the recovery period. The following
equations were used for the estimation of O2max
(ml · kg–1 · min–1) [24]:
Women: O2max = 65.81 – [0.1847 · (HRQCST · 4)]
Men: O2max = 111.33 – [0.42 · (HRQCST · 4)]
The results showed estimated O2max values of
39.5 ± 4.1 ml · kg–1 · min–1 for women and 52.5 ±
7.0 ml · kg–1 · min–1 for men, indicating a good cardio-
respiratory fitness level [2].
A short version (7 items) of the Italian version of the
International Physical Activity Questionnaire [25] was
administered to evaluate the level of PA for each sub-
ject. Women reported 6.0 ± 3.9 hours · week–1 of vigor-
ous and 4.2 ± 3.5 hours · week–1 of moderate PA, while
men reported 8.3 ± 4.4 hours · week–1 of vigorous and
6.1 ± 4.0 hours · week–1 of moderate PA.
Then, the subjects randomly performed 2 experi-
mental sessions: ZC (a regular 60-min group class with
an instructor) in the University gym (temperature:
26.9 ± 2.1°C; humidity: 46.0 ± 10.1%) and ZFR
(a 60-min interactive lesson with Xbox Kinect 360,
lesson one, long version) in the Sport and Exercise
Physiology Laboratory (temperature: 27.2 ± 2.9°C;
humidity: 45.0 ± 10.1%), organized with at least 3 days
in between, during which the participants were re-
quired to refrain from moderate-to-vigorous PA. The
power analysis performed on O2 values from the pilot
phase required a minimal sample size of 15 subjects.
Participants
Twenty healthy college students (age: 24–30 years;
12 women [age: 24.7 ± 0.9 years; body weight: 52.3
± 3.3 kg; body height: 159.5 ± 4.3 cm; BMI: 20.6 ±
1.2 kg · m–2] and 8 men [age: 25.3 ± 2.1 years; body
weight: 77.1 ± 7.3 kg; body height: 175.0 ± 5.2 cm;
BMI: 25.3 ± 3.3 kg · m–2]) volunteered to participate
in the study. Each subject was informed about the
testing procedures. Participants were included if re-
porting no previous experience in ZC or ZFR and ex-
cluded if they reported any current or pre-existing
condition such as a cardiovascular, respiratory and/
or metabolic disease or physical injury.
Figure 1. Temporal sequence of the experimental protocol
Experimental session 2
Experimental session 1
Preliminary assessments
Familiarization
Recover y Recover y
days
1 4 5 6 7 10 11
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Procedures
During each experimental session, HR response
was continuously recorded (Polar T31 transmitter,
Polar Electro, Kempele, Finland) as average values of
5 seconds. The data were subsequently expressed as
percentages of individual theoretical maximal HR
(208 – 0.7 · age, %HRmax) [26]. A telemetric open-cir-
cuit measurement system (K4b2, Cosmed, Rome, Italy)
was used to continuously record O2 data and esti-
mate RER, MET, and EE (kcal · kg–1 · min–1). EE was
computed as a caloric equivalent for the average RER
for time duration adopting the total net O2 as the mean
O2 for each session. Before each experimental session,
known gas mixtures (O2: 16.0% and 20.9%; CO2: 5.0%
and 0.03%) were used to calibrate the gas analyser,
while a 3-litre syringe (Hans Rudolph Inc., Dallas, USA)
served to calibrate the flow meter. K4b2 showed intra-
class reliability coefficients ranging from 0.7 to 0.9 [27].
HR and O2 data of a representative subject are de-
picted in Figure 2.
Since recent evidence suggests that RPE scales are
interchangeable [28, 29], in the present study the cate-
gory-ratio 10 scale was used to monitor exercise inten-
sity. Standardized instructions were provided prior
to each session [30] and sRPE was collected approxi-
mately 30 minutes after the end of the session to en-
sure that the perceived exertion referred to the whole
session rather than to the most recent exercise inten-
sity, in line with similar research [17, 31]. sRPE train-
ing load was not calculated due to the fixed duration
of each experimental session.
A 5-item Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES)
was administered at the end of each ZC and ZFR ses-
sion to evaluate the individuals’ enjoyment while im-
plementing the activities. The students rated the ex-
tent to which they agreed with each item on a 7-point
Likert scale. Total responses were summed to give
a score ranging from 5 to 35, and a percentage enjoy-
ment score (%PACES) was calculated, in line with sim-
ilar research [11].
Statistical analysis
Normal distribution was verified by the Shapiro-
Wilk test and means and standard deviations were
calculated for all variables. Statistical significance was
set at p < 0.05. A two (sex: women vs. men) by two (mo-
dality: ZC vs. ZFR) analysis of variance (ANOVA) for
repeated measures was applied to %HRmax, O2, RER,
MET, EE, sRPE, PACES, and %PACES values. If the
overall F test was significant, the post-hoc Fisher pro-
tected least significant difference comparisons were
used. Cohen’s (d) effect sizes (ES) were also calculated.
An ES less than 0.2 was considered trivial, from 0.2
to 0.5 small, greater than 0.5 to 0.8 moderate, and
greater than 0.8 large [32]. The Stata statistical soft-
ware version 14.1 (StataCorp, College Station, USA)
was used for statistical analysis.
Ethical approval
The research related to human use has complied
with all the relevant national regulations and institu-
tional policies, has followed the tenets of the Declara-
tion of Helsinki, and has been approved by the Institu-
tional Review Board of Department of Human Sciences,
Society and Health of the University of Cassino and
Lazio Meridio nale (approval No.: 26898.2019.11.27;
date: December 4, 2019).
Informed consent
Informed consent has been obtained from all indi-
viduals included in this study.
Figure 1. Temporal sequence of the experimental protocol
Figure 2. Heart rate (HR) (a) and oxygen consumption ( O2)
(b) during Zumba® class (ZC) and Zumba® Fitness Rush
(ZFR) in a representative subject
HR (beat · min–1)
a)
b)
ZC ZFR
VO2 (ml · kg–1 · min–1)
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Table 1. Means, standard deviations, percentages of differences, p values, and effect sizes (d) of physiological
and psychological parameters of Zumba® class and Zumba® Fitness Rush in women and men
WOMEN
Varia ble ZC ZFR % diff pCohen’s d
%HRmax 80.3 ± 6.3 72.1 ± 5.6* –10.2 0.004 1.382 (large)
O2 (ml · kg–1 · min–1)25.5 ± 1.6 23.0 ± 2.8* –9.8 0.004 1.096 (large)
RER 0.95 ± 0.03 0.91 ± 0.06 –4.2 0.17 0.843 (large)
MET 7.3 ± 0.5 6.6 ± 0.8* –9.6 0.004 1.049 (large)
EE (kcal · min–1) 6.6 ± 0.6 5.9 ± 0.9* –10.6 0.005 0.915 (large)
sRPE 4.7 ± 1.4 4.1 ± 2.2 –12.8 0.32 0.325 (small)
PACES 30.7 ± 4.2 28.2 ± 5.6 –8.1 0.26 0.505 (moderate)
%PACE S 87.8 ± 12.1 80.5 ± 15.9 –8.3 0.26 0.517 (moderate)
MEN
Varia ble ZC ZFR % diff pCohen’s d
%HRmax 73.5 ± 5.0 65.0 ± 8.2*#–11.6 0.01 1.245 (large)
O2 (ml · kg–1 · min–1)25.6 ± 4.7 21.7 ± 4.0* –15.2 0.02 0.894 (large)
RER 0.95 ± 0.05 0.93 ± 0.06 –2.1 0.42 0.362 (small)
MET 7.3 ± 1.3 6.2 ± 1.1* –15.1 0.02 0.914 (large)
EE (kcal · min–1) 9.7 ± 1.5#8.2 ± 1.3*#–15.5 0.02 1.069 (large)
sRPE 3.8 ± 1.3 4.5 ± 1.0 18.4 0.18 0.604 (moderate)
PACES 31.7 ± 4.0 31.3 ± 4.7 –1.3 0.75 0.092 (trivial)
%PACE S 90.5 ± 11.4 89.3 ± 13.6 –1.3 0.75 0.096 (trivial)
ZC – Zumba® class, ZFR – Zumba® Fitness Rush, % diff – percentages of differences, %HRmax – percentages of heart rate
maximum, O2 – oxygen consumption, RER – respiratory exchange ratio, MET – metabolic equivalent task,
EE – energy expenditure, sRPE – session rating of perceived exertion, PACES – Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale score,
%PACES – Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale percentage score
* differences from ZC
# differences from women
Results
The %HRmax, O2, RER, MET, EE, sRPE, PACES,
and %PACES data of ZC and ZFR in women and men
are presented in Table 1.
Main effects for sex (p = 0.02) and modality (p <
0.0001) emerged for %HRmax (Figure 3), with women
showing higher values than men and ZC showing higher
values than ZFR. EE presented main effects for sex
(p < 0.0001) and modality (p = 0.0002), with higher
values in men and in ZC. Main effect (p = 0.0001) for
modality emerged also for O2 and METs (Figure 4),
with higher values in ZC regardless of sex.
Finally, no significant differences were observed for
RER, sRPE, PACES, or %PACES in relation to modality
and sex.
Discussion
Aiming to explore alternative and engaging forms
of home-based PA during the on-going coronavirus
disease quarantine, this study compared physiological
and psychological responses in ZC with those in ZFR.
The main findings showed that: (a) ZC elicited higher
cardiovascular and metabolic responses than ZFR;
(b) men presented lower HR responses and higher EE
values than women regardless of modality game; and
(c) no differences emerged for RER, sRPE, PACES, and
%PACES. Regardless of sex, in the present study, sig-
nificantly higher physiological responses were found in
ZC. Although ZC elicited higher cardiovascular and
metabolic responses regardless of sex, ZFR, classified
as a moderate-to-vigorous activity, could be used to
maintain regular PA and routinely exercising in a safe
home environment, maintaining safe distances among
individuals during the coronavirus outbreak.
Differences in ZC and ZFR could be expected due
to the enthusiasm of the instructor providing real-time
feedbacks and encouragements and other participants
practising simultaneously during ZC, resulting in a fur-
ther stimulus towards subjects, helping and encour-
aging them to improve exercise intensity. However,
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in ZFR, players follow the instructors’ clues and the
choreography, collecting stars when playing well to in-
crease their score, and before every movement change,
players receive a visual cue, thus being able to follow
the instructor in due time, without feeling lost [17].
Moreover, a previous study reported no difference be-
tween single- and multi-player modality [17], which
suggests that the rhythm of the music in ZFR plays
a crucial role in imposing a time constraint, ensuring
the player to follow the virtual instructor and the cho-
reography and thus limiting the variability owing to
the presence of a real instructor and other people ex-
ercising [19].
In accordance with %HRmax, ZFR could be clas-
sified [2] as a moderate-intensity activity in men and
women, whereas ZC as vigorous and moderate in
women and men, respectively. In line with a previous
study [21], significantly higher HR and O2 values were
found in ZC than in ZFR. Both activities showed MET
values comparable with the acute cardiovascular re-
sponses during a session of ZC [33, 34] and Zumba®
played with several forms of AVGs [21, 33], respectively.
* differences from ZC, # difference s from women
Figure 3. Mean and standard deviation of the exercise intensity expressed as percentage of maximum heart rate
(%HRmax) during Zumba® class (ZC) and Zumba® Fitness Rush (ZFR) in women and men. Dash lines represent the
intensity classification according to American College of Sports Medicine [2]
Intensity (%HRmax)
ZC ZFR
Women Men
Vigorous
Moderate
Light
Very light
*#
*
* differences from ZC
Figure 4. Mean and standard deviation of the exercise intensity expressed in metabolic equivalent tasks (METs)
during Zumba® class (ZC) and Zumba® Fitness Rush (ZFR) in women and men. Dash lines represent the intensity
classification according to American College of Sports Medicine [2]
Intensity (METs)
Vigorous
Moderate
Light
Very light
Women Men
ZC ZFR
**
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In particular, with regard to MET values, findings sug-
gest that independently of sex, ZC and ZFR could be
classified [2] as vigorous activity. Finally, RER data,
as a surrogate of substrate utilization, indicate a car-
bohydrate oxidation ranging from 70 to 84% and fat
oxidation ranging from 29 to 16% [35]. Regardless of
the modality, men rated the lessons as ‘somewhat hard’
according to the category-ratio 10 scale, correspond-
ing to 13 on the 6–20 RPE scale [29], whereas women
rated ZC as ‘hard’ and ZFR as ‘somewhat hard’ accord-
ing to the category-ratio 10 scale, corresponding, re-
spectively, to 14 and 13 on the 6–20 scale [29]. Only
a few studies used sRPE to evaluate training load
during ZC and ZFR [17], reporting results comparable
with the present study (average values of 4).
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, an EE of at least
300 kcal per session is suggested [2]. According to the
findings of the present study, men will need 31 minutes
of ZC or 36 minutes of ZFR, whereas women will need
45 minutes of ZC or 51 minutes of ZFR in each training
session. Although ZFR sessions will need to be longer
than those of ZC, the difference is minimal, thus mak-
ing AVG suitable to reach adequate PA levels, espe-
cially when preventive measures are needed to ensure
isolation and limit interpersonal contacts.
Some limitations should be acknowledged for this
study. The sample size was relatively small, but in line
with recent similar research studies. Only an adult
sample was analysed; thus, future studies should in-
vestigate also youth and older subjects. The activity was
limited to Zumba®, so future research should include
other forms of PA focusing on selected aspects of the
fitness components, such as aerobic, strength, endur-
ance, power. In the present study, a cross-sectional ap-
proach was favoured, and future longitudinal studies
should be carried out to provide information also re-
garding long-term effects of such forms of PA. AVGs
are a non-supervised PA, while during quarantine, also
other forms of distance PA, such as the ones super-
vised by an instructor online, have become popular.
Therefore, future studies should look at the impact of
non-supervised vs. online-supervised forms of PA.
Conclusions
From a practical point of view, companies and stake-
holders should foresee the possibility to modify cho-
reographies and routines by adjusting the physiological
demands of the proposed activity to ensure the EE
required [2]. For example, if the interaction between
AVGs console and HR monitor were possible, based
on the real-time HR data of the player, the AVG could
increase or decrease velocity of execution, choreogra-
phy, and movement to ensure a proper EE during the
session. Alternatively, as sRPE is recommended to pre-
scribe, monitor, and regulate exercise intensity [2],
being easier to collect than HR, sRPE values could be
monitored (by showing the RPE scale on the screen,
with the player indicating their perceived exertion),
thus adapting the intensity of a session in accordance
with the player’s actual perception and fitness status.
Moreover, as during the quarantine and isolation pe-
riod, interpersonal contacts should be limited [6],
physicians could use the collected data to monitor the
fitness status and progress of people without needing
to get in contact. More generally, playing AVGs could
be used to counteract sedentary behaviours as it may be
an attractive fitness activity for those who do not feel
comfortable exercising in a public or group settings,
not only when isolation is necessary.
Funding
This research received no external funding.
Acknowledgments
The authors would like to express their gratitude to
the subjects involved in the study for their committed
participation.
Disclosure statement
No author has any financial interest or received any
financial benefit from this research.
Conflict of interest
The authors state no conflict of interest.
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... It is possible that this shift in the location of exercise (and potentially, the mode of exercise) contributed to the change in exercise intensity. Cortis et al. recently examined differences between a Zumba class (60 min class at a gym with an instructor) vs. a Zumba Exergame session (also 60 min) and demonstrated that the exercise heart rate was higher during the in-person Zumba class, suggesting that the increased exercise intensity during the class compared to the game could be due to the real-time feedback and the encouragement and enthusiasm of the instructor and other participants [23]. In the current study, more at-home workouts may have resulted in less vigorous exercise if the individual was used to feedback and encouragement from instructors, trainers, or peers in a gym setting. ...
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... Items 15-20 investigated physical activity behaviours (type, frequency, motivation) with the same questions as the first version of the questionnaire. Information about eating habits (same questions as the first version) was requested in items 21-31, while the last part of the questionnaire investigated the use of media and leisure time during the pandemic (items [32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49]. Questions about the perception of changes in PA and eating behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic were added to this version of the questionnaire. ...
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