To play Wii Fit you'll need a Wii console, which connects to your TV. The game comes with the Wii Balance Board and Wii Fit software that calculates your centre of gravity and body mass index (BMI) and gives you a Wii Fit Age based on how you perform in an initial balance test. Your Wii Fit Age is the benchmark of your improving fitness, explains Nintendo – and the more you train, the harder the game makes you work
Wii Fit includes more than 40 exercises, including aerobics, muscle conditioning, yoga and balance activities, as well as minigames like ski jumping and tightrope walking. Up to eight people in the household can save and monitor the results of their workouts, although you can keep your results secret if you prefer.
Active vs sedentary video games
The results of the few studies on active video games carried out to
date suggest that, while they're an improvement on sedentary video
games, they fall short on measures of exercise intensity. One small UK
study compared the energy expenditure of a group of teens when playing a
sedentary computer game and three active Wii Sports games for 15
minutes at a time. The researchers found that playing the Wii Sports
games used significantly more energy than playing the sedentary game,
but not as much energy as playing the sport itself.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, the authors concluded, "The
energy used when playing active Wii Sports games was not of high enough
intensity to contribute towards the recommended daily amount of exercise
Personal fitness coach Lucy Wyndham-Read believes that one of the
benefits of Wii Fit is that it may encourage and motivate hitherto
sedentary people to become a little more active and be more aware of
their current fitness level. "The BMI measurement is a useful way of
telling you if you're a healthy weight for your height," she says,
"although this is only suitable for adults, and does not apply to
pregnant woman and children."
"Wii Fit is a great way of correcting your postural balance," she
adds, "as the wireless board you stand on has sensors to detect your
position and balance. It also improves your general body awareness."
Don't cancel the gym membership just yet!
Lucy cautions, however, that the Wii Fit exercises are not strenuous enough to count towards the government's recommended amount of exercise for adults of 30 minutes daily at least five times a week. "To achieve an effective exercise routine, you need to train to the correct intensity, which should be somewhat hard," she says. "Any less will be ineffective for improving your health – although it will be better than doing nothing!"
"Not only do we need to work out at the right intensity," explains Lucy, "but it's essential that we target all our muscle groups through their fullest range of movement. Wii Fit certainly encourages you to stretch and bend, but with other forms of exercises, like gymnastics, swimming, rounders and tennis, your body naturally works all your muscles through the fullest range."
She concludes, "In summary, it's certainly going to burn more calories than playing Scrabble, but it will never get you as fit as taking part in the real thing."
Wii Fit retails at around £69.99 and the Wii game console (which includes Wii Sports) at around £179.99. For further information see http://uk.wii.com/.
back to top