Testing the effectiveness of interactive game bikes on physical activity motivation among parents and young children in the home: a pilot study


Interactive stationary bikes provide positive affective experiences and physiological benefits; however research has been limited to adults within laboratory settings. Using a randomized, controlled trial design (RCT), this study sought to examine usage of GameBikes (GB) compared to traditional stationary bikes (TSB) among families in the home-setting including the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) to understand motivation for use. Parents completed questionnaires after having a ten minute trial with the bike (T1) and then again after six weeks (T2). Usage was tracked by all family members and belief elicitation was performed with GB families following the trial. Repeated measures (RM) ANOVA for frequency of use yielded a large time effect (F5,34 = 3.15, p < .05; η2 = .32); post-hoc analysis illustrated decrease by TSB (t18 = 3.77, p < .01; d = .89) and GB (t20 = 1.02, p = .32; d = .32). Parents in the GB group increased the proportion of those meeting Health Canada’s Physical Activity guidelines by 33.3% compared to 8.34% for TSB (h = .51). RM ANOVA for affective attitude (AA) of parents yielded large time and intervention effects (F1,22 = 32.73, p < .01, η2 = .60; F1,22 = 8.54, p = .01, η2 = .60 respectively). GB (t11 = 6.08, p < .01, d = 1.67) and TSB (t11 = 3.27, p < .01, d = .88) lowered across time; GB experienced higher levels of AA at T1 (t25 = 2.69, p < .01, d = 1.55) and T2 (t22 = 2.58, p < .05, d = 1.39). Elicited beliefs were primarily affective- and control-based and concerned the equipment and sizing for children. From this study, it is noted that usage decreases less rapidly with the GB than with TSB. Also, differences in AA between groups highlight the importance of AA in PA interventions. This study provides support for the use of interactive video games to augment current PA initiatives with larger scale trials.



active video games, families, physical activity, theory of planned behaviour, pilot study