Having trouble finding someone to do aerobics with you? Not to worry; according to new research out of Michigan State University, a digitally created avatar will do nearly as good at motivating you to pick up your step. In an experiment involving 120 participants, professor Deborah Feltz found that the cyber-buddy in her "CyBud-X" video workout game led to improved workouts over no buddy at all. "We know that people tend to show more effort during exercise when there are other partners involved because their performance hinges on how the entire team does," she said. "The fact that a nonhuman partner can have a similar effect is encouraging."

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