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Nintendo Wii: real exercise or fad?

Who would have thought that a video game manufacturer would actually come up with a fitness "game" that can be used by the whole family? Well, it has happened. Nintendo, the leader in this field, has revolutionised the way we think about, and use, video games by creating Nintendo Wii, a system that forces you to get up off the couch and get moving. It is not a "kids only" game. It is designed for the whole family, including seniors. In fact, some hospitals and aged care homes are adding to their recreational activities. With the addition of the key component "Balance Board", you have many more games and fitness related exercise programs available to you.

Some of the major features:

BMI (Body Mass Index) check. This is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. A personal trainer or fitness instructor usually measures this when you begin a program. The Wii does this for you when you enter your height and stand on the Wii Balance Board to read your weight.

Wii Fit Age. After you have measured your BMI, you do a simple balance test on the Balance Board. This shows you how well you control each side of your body. It then assigns you a Wii Fit Age.

After this is done, the Wii guides you through the first three categories of exercise. It acts as a virtual personal trainer. The categories are Strength training, Aerobics, Yoga and Balance games. A wide range of other games and fitness programs have also been developed.

Advantages of the Wii:

  • The Wii is easy to set up and is wireless, which means less clutter.
  • It acts as a personal trainer and is used in the comfort of your own home.
  • It keeps track of your progress through graphs and charts. With your personal profile, it allows you to earn Fit Credits, set personal goals, monitor your Fit Age and even enter exercises you do outside of Wii Fit. Multiple family members can view their personal profile on the profile-selection screen and see their Fit Credit total.
  • You lose weight and burn fat.
  • You have a number of games and sports to choose from. You can play tennis, soccer, boxing and many others.
  • Works on your balance
  • More fun than a traditional workout.


  • If you are already fit and are looking to do some serious aerobics or weight training, this may not be the thing for you.
  • Having to read the menus and instructions can be irritating for some people.
  • Using the Wii-mote to find different activities on the screen can also get in the way of your exercise.

The Nintendo Wii has received a lot of positive reviews as a weight loss device as well as a game console the whole family can enjoy. Like everything else, not all of its features will suit everyone. However, if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive way to lose weight, burn fat, improve your balance, breathing and flexibility while having fun, a Wii is better than no exercise. But whether this whole thing is just another technological craze that will soon pass when the next craze comes along, time will show.


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