It was the holiday shopping season’s biggest question: where can I find a Wii? For the second holiday in a row, this video game console was the item retailers just couldn’t keep in stock. Nintendo marketed the Wii as an engaging new way to get people off the couch and into the action. But does it actually have significant fitness value?
University student Justin White wanted to find out. He says, “I was playing Wii boxing with a friend and noticed how exerting it was. I thought to myself, ‘I’m working up a sweat doing this Nintendo thing…”
His professor, Jo Welch, helped him with his experiment. She says, “I’ve always held that the ‘best exercise’ is exercise that a person will do, because different activities appeal to different people, the more options that are readily available, the more likely it is that exercise will occur.”
But can a video game be exercise? The secret to the Wii’s runaway success is its motion-sensing controller, which responds to the player?s movements. Swing the remote like a tennis racket, golf club or baseball bat and your “Mii” on the screen does the same.
That thesis may be put to the test later this year when Nintendo releases Wii Fit, an exercise game with a weight-sensing balance board that allows players to perform yoga, push-ups and other exercises and track changes in their body-mass index. It has already sold over a million copies in Japan. Just don?t get addicted to it.
Art credit: Nick Pearce
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