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Wii – Video games PROMOTING physical activity

December 15th, 2009 1 comment

For over two decades, video games have been blamed for the steadily increasing number of overweight and obese American children.  Unreliant on fair weather conditions and friends to participate, children are able to “play” without exerting any energy or engaging in social, yet physical activity – or rather, they were until the Nintendo Wii came along.

My father asked me this weekend to pick up a Wii console as family Christmas gift. I thought the idea to be ridiculous at first. I knew my father and brother would get a ton of us out of the thing, but I’ve always been more of a gym junkie than a gamer. My mother certainly wouldn’t have any reason to use the thing, I thought.

I’ll admit now that I’m actually pretty damn excited to open the Wii and get it running in two weeks. The Wii console includes the “Sports” package, with tennis, bowling, baseball, golf and boxing already loaded. The game’s design encourages the player to physically move his/her body parts, simulating movements of a player engaged in the actual sport. Not only is the system incredibly accurate, but the movements required to perform well on the screen are almost as vigorously demanding as they would be outside!

The Wii Fit and fitness games are also offered. I picked up a pilates video to share with my mom, in hopes that the digital workouts and pilates exercises would act as substitutes for rainy days when running outside is difficult.

I’ll add that I’m battling a head cold this week, one that’s prevented me from hitting the gym – not because my sick body isn’t capable of physical activity, but because don’t wish to share my germs with the healthy. The Wii system will allow me to continue to exercise in confinement when I come down with any future illnesses.

One has to wonder, if the Wii is now enabling an individual to stay active 24/7, unreliant on the weather, gym hours, or work out buddies, is it actually a superior mode of exercise? My, have we changed our playing fields!

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