Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wii Sports, real exercise?

We all seem to live our lives with computers, remote controls, cell phones etc. which has lead to our more sedentary lifestyles. With this in mind, can a video game improve our fitness? My initial reaction is no, video games require us to remain stationary in front of a computer – in essence remaining sedentary. Well, the Wii game system was designed to challenge this by making gamers actually stand up and move. But, does this actually equal exercise?

Thankfully, the American Council on Exercise performed a study that they published in August on playing Wii Sports

For those of you not interested in reading the actual article here is a brief summary of it:

  • Playing Wii sports does burn more calories than just sitting around (no big surprise).

  • To achieve any benefit from the Wii system you need to stand up and mimic the actual movements of the sport you are playing. Still, it does not provide the same benefit as actually playing the real sport but can act as a bridge – if you like the sport then you may be tempted to actually do it (which is more fun and provides a much greater benefit).

  • The sport that provides the greatest benefit on the system is boxing. Boxing was the only sport that was found to be intense enough to actually maintain or improve cardio respiratory endurance by the standards set by the American College of Sports Medicine. Good news for me, as many of you already know my preferred exercise is boxing and muay thai kickboxing. Even so, Wii Boxing is burns one third less calories than actual boxing practice. If you want a real boxing workout come to Plainfield Fitness and Fight Training currently I train people for free and have a flexible schedule.
Bottom line:
If you are new to exercise than Wii Sports is something you can start with, its fun and gets you moving. If the Wii system gets you off the coach then that is great. But, that is just the first step. Once you are comfortable playing Wii then you really need to get out and do something, for idea refer to my earlier post on “What are you doing today to stay healthy”.

Yours in health,
Dr. Tom Meehan

The American Council on Exercise is currently conducting a study on Wii Fitness. I will be sure to update you when that comes out.

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