The results were compared against data collected from a separate group of eight seniors who played video games on a laptop but did not pedal, and also a group from the previous research who only rode a traditional stationary bike with no gaming component.
At the end of the randomised clinical trial, participants in both the group that pedalled along a virtual bike path and those that chased dragons and collected coins experienced significantly better executive function, which controls, in part, multi-tasking and decision making.
“Executive function is like the CEO of the brain. It is key to remaining independent in later life,” said Anderson-Hanley.
She added: ”For example, it allows you to cook two things on the stove at once. It makes sure you don’t forget that you are boiling water while also having something in the oven.”