Buried deep within the comments on one of my recent articles over at WoW.com was an interesting little bit of information from a poster named Saitenyo. She talked about how she set up a platform near a recumbent bike in her home so that she could use her laptop to play World of Warcraft while exercising. I was curious to learn more about this, because while we’ve talked about getting in exercise while playing an MMORPG like WoW, in all my years of gaming I’ve never really known anyone that has put a serious effort into doing so.
A brief exchange of emails later, and I had the full story from the player behind the avatar, one Chelsea Brown. Ms. Brown is a recent BFA graduate from the Laguna College of Art and Design and a self-proclaimed fan of a long list of things that would make her a perfect candidate for attendance at Dragon*Con. She did such a great job of explaining her set up and the benefits that she got from it that I figured I’d go ahead and let her do so in her own words.
It’s a reclining stationary bike, with a laptop caddy set up next to it. I set them up in such a way that I could comfortably reach the keyboard and look at the screen, while still pedaling. For people who don’t have laptops, they could probably also use the caddy to hold a keyboard and mouse for a regular desktop computer, and just place their monitor somewhere in front of the bike where they can still see it.
I started at about 120 lbs, which for my height/build, was slightly overweight. I didn’t have a specific target weight. I just wanted to look and feel better. I used a combination of a healthy eating plan and nightly exercise to get myself down to 111 lbs over a period of about 2-3 months. My routine would generally consist of stretching, push-ups, and crunches to warm up, and then time on the stationary bike, playing WoW. I started at 20 minutes, and worked up to 40 over time. I don’t remember the exact number of calories burned throughout, since I wasn’t so much tracking numbers as just tracking my energy levels and general feeling of health. Occasionally, if I was tired that night or short on time, I’d make sure to at least get 20 minutes of bike peddling in a night. Those sessions would usually be about 100 calories burned per session.
I tried to keep a consistent fast peddling pace that would get my heart pumping without being so much that I couldn’t maintain it for an extended period of time. And then I’d just log onto a WoW character, and get to work! I found leveling and daily quests worked best for this. Raiding would’ve probably been too difficult to do while exercising. Farming mats worked fine too, I just preferred questing since it kept me more focused.
Basically, I’d been trying for months to motivate myself to exercise. I found reading or watching TV to be too relaxing. Listening to music wasn’t engaging enough for me. I just kept getting bored, or thinking about how little free time I had and how this was cutting into my leisure time. So when I finally figured out how to combine my leisure time and exercise, it worked perfectly!
Not only does Chelsea make fitness a priority in her life, she gets extra kudos for paying attention to her energy levels and how she feels physically instead of focusing so much on the scale. She has totally earned an Achievement here for using the more “relaxed” time she spends playing WoW into an opportunity to burn some extra calories, and we here at ShrinkGeek applaud her for it. You can check out some examples of her artwork at her website, ChelseaBrown.net.