It should come as no surprise that dance games such as Dance Dance Revolution or Just Dance are great for your physical health. After all, you're putting yourself through some pretty intense cardio if you're playing the game properly. You're naturally going to get into better shape the more you play.
Turns out, weight loss and circulation aren't the only thing dance games can help with. According to a study recently published by Neurology and Urodynamics - the result of joint research between Canadian and Swiss scientists - such titles can actually help women suffering from urinary incontinence get their condition under control. Yeah...I don't quite believe it, myself.
To be fair, it's probably not just dance games that'll do it. The study found that a regular regimen of dance exercises (which were performed through said games) resulted in a marked improvement in pelvic floor muscle strength. This, in turn, helped improve bladder control amont the test subjects. In plain English, it basically strengthened their muscles so that they found it easier to control their bladders.
This is actually a pretty significant finding, believe it or not, and one with the potential to help a great many people. Turns out, one in four women of all ages suffer from urinary incontinence, with the condition growing more common past the age of seventy. That researchers have found a leisure activity which can help women manage the rather embarrassing condition is pretty fantastic, no?
According to researcher Chantal Dumoulin, the greatest challenge in the research was motivating the subjects to show up each week. That's where gaming came in.
"We quickly learned that the dance component was the part that the women found most fun and didn't want to miss. The socialization aspect shouldn't be ignored either: they laughed a lot as they danced."
The study was pretty simple. Researchers had the test subject perform a series of dance exercises using an unnamed dance game. Said exercises were attuned to a physiotherapy program designed to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Of the twenty-four subjects who participated, all of them "saw a greater decrease in daily urine leakage than for the usual program, as well as no dropouts from the program and a highly weekly participation rate."
While it's clear that the important component in all of this is the exercise, the dance game's definitely a huge help as far as motivation is concerned. Our society isn't really one that's well-attuned to exercise after all; couching such a thing in entertainment is definitely a smart move. Plus, the social aspect of the whole course helps too - speaking from experience, it's far easier to stick to an exercise routine when you've a few friends you're accountable to.
What this whole study boils down to, then, isn't that physiotherapy can help reduce the risk of incontinence (I suspect this was already known). It is, according to the researchers, that making a program fun is the perfect recipe for success since it makes subjects far likelier to stick to whatever programs they've been set to. That shouldn't really be news to anyone, really - after all, I'll wager we all know full well that one is more likely to do something if they find it entertaining, right?
The study was carried out by the Incontinence & Aging Laboratory, headed by Chantal Dumoulin, associate professor of physiotherapy at the Université de Montréal.You can read more about it here.
You can get Dance Dance Revolution and Just Dance here.