“I have a question for you. How good of a workout Could I get off the Wii Fit? I’ve been losing weight by eating healthier, but I’m wanting to integrate some exercise too and I just got the Wii.” Read my reply…
Today I am going to answer one of the questions I received from someone.
“I have a question for you. How good of a workout Could I get off the Wii Fit? I’ve been losing weight by eating healthier, but I’m wanting to integrate some exercise too and I just got the Wii.”
The Nintendo Wii Fit is probably the best game system for kids, if you look at how much activity it provides for the user. Almost all of the games have you pretending to play various sports or performing different movements in order to move throughout the game. There are multiple types of ways to play the Wii, which impacts how much an impact it will have on your health.
The standard Nintendo Wii comes with a remote and something called a Numchuck. Wii Sports comes with the system and allows you to participate in various sports such as bowling, tennis, baseball, and boxing. A year ago I put on a heart rate monitor to test the various games in order to see which one gave me the best workout, and I would say the boxing game provided the best cardiovascular benefit. It got my heart rate up as I punched throughout the game. I would say the biggest downfall with the system is that you can cheat the system. With the Wii, it picks up on your hand movements. So you can move as much or as little as you want and it will still pick up these movements. So you can essentially cheat the system on most of the games. For instance, last week I saw a kid sitting down while playing the bowling game. So even though you could burn some calories by going into your full wind-up and delivery, you can also get nothing from it by just using simple hand motions.
Nintendo Wii Fit
The Nintendo Wii Fit is a little different. It incorporates a “balance board” into the system that interacts with the game system. As far as I know, this was the first of it’s kind in personal game systems. It allowed you to perform exercises along with the person on the screen and gave you feedback based on how you are doing. It includes activities such as Yoga, stretching, balance and even some strength training. The strength training is pretty limited to using just chest, shoulders, abs, triceps, and legs for the most part. (I call these the mirror muscles.) And there are several programs available that allow you to exercise, change up your routine, and track your results. No one is going to force you to exercise, but the feedback is meant to encourage you to keep going. I would say it is somewhat limited on the types of activities it can do, and I’ve heard some people complain that the transition between exercises takes so long that you can’t get a great workout. It’s a good idea, but I personally think it lacks working some bodyparts and doesn’t really give good strength training benefits. By using your own bodyweight, exercise can be easy or hard, but not much in between. Improper movement patterns can lead to injury, so be careful. There is also a Nintendo Wii Fit Plus now available that promises to track calories and more personalized programs. I haven’t seen this personally, so I can’t comment on it right now.
The Wii Active was developed by EA Sports and integrates a couple of things in with the Wii System. It has a leg harness that holds your Wii Remote and comes with some tubing/stretch band as well. When you put the remote in the leg strap it ensures that you are moving your legs in the activities. This is used for some things like jogging in the games. The resistance bands provide a more scalable intensity level than the balance board that was discussed in the previous section. Overall, I think it’s a much better system than just the Wii by itself, but gives less feedback than the Wii Fit. The biggest problem I see with it is the same problem I have with all of the other systems. When watching the computer animation on the screen, you may think you are doing it correctly because no one is able to point out flawed movement patterns. That being said, I like the idea of the band/tubing and the leg strap.
I think all of these systems provide some level of physical activity. You can lose weight with them when you are being consistent with your activity level and following a nutrition program. There are websites dedicated to losing weight on the Wii. The Wii Healthy gives tips on how to lose weight using the Wii system.
I can tell you that even without exercise, you can lose weight on a solid nutrition program. So with or without the Wii, weight loss is possible. However, I don’t consider this a good long term solution to weight loss and health. The problem I see is that you will only be training to be active in your house. I find that those who are the most successful at losing weight tend to engage in indoor and outdoor activities and set physical goals as well as weight loss goals. Having multiple goals and multiple types of physical activity will keep you more focused over a longer period of time and help you achieve a more balanced, toned physique. So to get started, I say the Wii is great, especially with all of the available devices, but try to move into other physical activites such as strength training and formal cardiovascular activity as soon as possible.
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