Can You Really Get Fit With Wii Exercise Games?
Experts weigh in on the value of video game exercise.
Can Exercise Video Games Ever Replace the Gym? continued...
The ACSM currently recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity per
day. But Donnelly, who is involved in a study of these guidelines, says that
not only are they too modest, but they have also been "grossly misinterpreted"
by the media and the public.
"We need people to be moderately active throughout most of the day," he
says. "Prehistoric man engaged in moderate activity for six to eight hours a
day. Those are the genes that we inherited."
Like Bryant, Donnelly cites Konami's Dance, Dance Revolution, an active game
that made headlines when it was released, then quickly began gathering dust in
many households. But even if people do stick with exercise games like Wii Fit,
he says, the time typically spent using them is rarely enough to make a
"Electronic gimmicks do not appear to be the solution for the physical
inactivity problem that we have in this country," he adds. "You're not going to
be able to play a Wii game for 15 or 20 or even 30 minutes and get the kind of
energy expenditure that is the same as six to eight hours" throughout the
Bryant agrees, although he is quick to praise Nintendo for its ability to
use technology in a positive manner. He just doesn't want people to use Wii Fit
as an alternative to actual fitness activities.
"If you're going to substitute giving your thumbs a workout with the Wii
video games for a Wii exercise game, that's a good choice, in terms of actual
activity and caloric expenditure," he says. "The hope [however] is that if we
can engage people in trying some of these sports through Wii, we can entice
them to try the real thing and get some real exercise."