Spending your time behind a computer and playing in a fantasy universe can make you fat, but it can also help you lose weight. A new study shows how a group of people who went to a gym in the online virtual world “Second Life” were actually able to lose weight in real life, an average of 10 pounds over the course of 12 weeks.
The BBC reports on how a weight loss community called “Club One Island” was created within the world of Second Life where people, via their avatars, could devise with the program’s creators a weight loss program. The group met for four hours each week to go over the changes in diet and exercise they could do to get healthier. Again, this was to plan the real food the users ate, not virtual Smurfberries, and real visits to the gym, not how they were use the Marathon perk in Modern Warfare: 2 and just sprint all over the place in the game.
The virtual world might even work better. The Second Lifers seemed to have made more changes towards physical activity and healthy eating than a group that went through the same program except through face-to-face meetings. Both groups lost the same amount of weight, which indicates that it’s more about the group support and accountability that helps weight loss, rather then whether it’s over a computer or in-person.
So next time someone makes fun of you for spending too much time on the computer tell them you’re working on your abs!