Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology (PhD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Dean Gorman

Committee Member

Cathy Lirgg

Second Committee Member

Peggy Schaefer-Whitby

Third Committee Member

Sharon Hunt


Adolescents, Enjoyment level, High functioning autism, Physical intensity, Video game cycling


Background: Obesity has become a serious health concern in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Researchers have indicated that sedentary behaviors, especially technological activities, such as video games and other forms of screen-based activities is the main barrier to participate in physical activities. Active video games have demonstrated the efficacy in increasing physical activity and reducing body weight in children and adolescents with disabilities.

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the exercise intensity and enjoyment level of interactive video game cycling (IVGC) in comparison with conventional stationary cycling (CSC) during matched number of sessions utilizing the same bicycle at the same resistance.

Method: Three adolescents with high functioning autism (HFA) (two males and one female) participated in an alternating treatment single-case design study. Two Game Rider bicycles that included gym mode and interactive video game mode were utilized in this study. In a random order, participants completed five cycling sessions engaging in conventional stationary cycling and five sessions carrying out the interactive video game cycling. Cycling method alternated every day with each participant receiving one treatment a day, and each session lasted 15 minutes. Measurements evaluated throughout the study were average HR, minutes spent in THRR, distance pedaled, and enjoyment level.

Results: Tau-U effect size and percentage of non-overlapping data (PND) were computed to analyze the significant differences between the two cycling methods. The results indicated that there were no statistically significant differences between the two applied treatments in average heart rate, minutes in THRR, and distance pedaled. The average heart rate within the recommended THRR (70% and above of HRmax) was achieved by one participant in both cycling methods. Participants reported a high enjoyment level in terms of IVGC.

Conclusion: Interactive video game cycling may lead to higher intensity of physical activity in adolescents with (HFA) when applying some recommendations that can increase individual’s motivation, such as offering variety of the latest video games cycling, administering token system, and organizing contests between students. One limitation of this study was the small sample size. Therefore, larger sample size and/or replication of the study is needed.