Can a Video Game get you Fit?

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Hey, I’m like everyone else. I like to play games, and video games are great…but I thought they were for sitting on your keister and vegging out. Not anymore, I’m told. It seems that the newest craze sweeping the fitness market is the video game system that also doubles as an in-home gym.

The Nintendo Wii-Fit is the first of these systems, with games from EA Sports, Gold’s Gym and many others. There are aerobic workouts, strength training, Pilates and yoga. The Wii-Fit has a balance board that hooks up to the system, which tracks your progress and communicates your body movements to the game1.

The balance board is there to tell you how you’re doing, if you are doing the movements correctly or if you need to fix your form1.

The Wii-Fit might be a good alternative for those who do not want to join, or go to, a gym. However, if you are new to fitness, remember there is no expert around to show you the ropes, and there is not really any health advice provided.
It does track your progress, weight and BMI, so you’ll know if you are progressing1.

Now, does it work? Can you play a video game to get a good work out? Will you sweat off calories? Yes and no. Yes, you can work up a sweat. Yes, you can burn calories…but the Wii-Fit offers a ‘good’ work out only to those who were very sedentary before. If you are an athlete, or a gym rat, this will not be a heart rate-raising form of exercise. It may be a light day, or even rest day, work out, just something fun to relax with, really…but if you are searching for something to really get the calories and fat melting off of your body…this is not it.

Some of the games say they focus on strength building, but they all more or less focus on balance and coordination. And, if you don’t already own a Wii, it can be a little expensive to start off. Your whole family can get into the game, so that’s a plus, and family time is sometimes hard to come by2. But if you are really looking for a great, heart-rate raising, sweat-inducing, calorie burning workout…you might want to use that money for a gym membership, or just go for a run!

Sources
1) “Wii-Fit Review.” (2010). Retrieved fromhttp://reviews.cnet.com/wii-games/wii-fit-wii/4505-9993_7-32513029.html#reviewPage1
2) “Wii-Fit.” (2010). Retrieved from http://www.dietsinreview.com/diets/Wii_Fit/

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