Results and guidelines from a repeated-measures design experiment comparing standing and seated full-body gesture-based immersive virtual reality exergames: Within-subjects evaluation

Wenge Xu, Hai Ning Liang*, Qiuyu He, Xiang Li, Kangyou Yu, Yuzheng Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although full-body seated exercises have been studied in a wide range of settings (ie, homes, hospitals, and daycare centers), they have rarely been converted to seated exergames. In addition, there is an increasing number of studies on immersive virtual reality (iVR) full-body gesture-based standing exergames, but the suitability and usefulness of seated exergames remain largely unexplored. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the difference between playing a full-body gesture-based iVR standing exergame and seated exergame in terms of gameplay performance, intrinsic motivation, and motion sickness. Methods: A total of 52 participants completed the experiment. The order of the game mode (standing and sitting) was counterbalanced. Gameplay performance was evaluated by action or gesture completion time and the number of missed gestures. Exertion was measured by the average heart rate (HR) percentage (AvgHR%), increased HR%, calories burned, and the Borg 6-20 questionnaire. Intrinsic motivation was assessed with the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI), whereas motion sickness was assessed via the Motion Sickness Assessment Questionnaire (MSAQ). In addition, we measured the fear of falling using a 10-point Likert scale questionnaire. Results: Players missed more gestures in the seated exergame than in the standing exergame, but the overall miss rate was low (2.3/120, 1.9%). The analysis yielded significantly higher AvgHR%, increased HR%, calories burned, and Borg 6-20 rating of perceived exertion values for the seated exergame (all P<.001). The seated exergame was rated significantly higher on peripheral sickness (P=.02) and sopite-related sickness (MSAQ) (P=.004) than the standing exergame. The score of the subscale “value/usefulness” from IMI was reported to be higher for the seated exergame than the standing exergame. There was no significant difference between the seated exergame and standing exergame in terms of intrinsic motivation (interest/enjoyment, P=.96; perceived competence, P=.26; pressure/tension, P=.42) and the fear of falling (P=.25). Conclusions: Seated iVR full-body gesture-based exergames can be valuable complements to standing exergames. Seated exergames have the potential to lead to higher exertion, provide higher value to players, and be more applicable in small spaces compared with standing exergames. However, gestures for seated exergames need to be designed carefully to minimize motion sickness, and more time should be given to users to perform gestures in seated exergames compared with standing exergames.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17972
JournalJMIR Serious Games
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Exercising
  • Exergames
  • Immersive virtual reality
  • Seated exergame
  • Standing exergame

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