Video game systems have been around for decades. I was just looking at old photos the other day from when I was very young and there was an Atari in the background! It is estimated that around 45% of adults play video games and it’s interesting that obesity rates are now at their highest levels yet. With that said, some may speculate that video games are partly to blame since people are basically sedentary during game play and some hardcore gamers play for hours on end.
ENTER: Nintendo Wii.
The Nintendo Wii was first introduced in 2006 and remains very popular today. The game selection continues to grow at a rapid pace giving players a good variety to choose from. The Wii game system offers plenty of games that get players up off the couch and a bit more active. I suppose the thought was that if people are going to play video games anyway, why not develop a gaming system that gets them moving a bit.
What you may be interested in knowing is that playing Wii games at intermediate levels – more specifically the popular games of Step and Hula – can actually improve your health and physical fitness levels. This according to a study that was recently published in the March issue of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
A small group of healthy young women were studied while playing both Hula and Step. A variety of things were measured including energy expenditure and oxygen consumption. These measures were studied at various points during game play and the study concluded that the beginning levels didn’t offer much benefit at all, but as the intensity of the game increased, that all changed.
The simulated hula hoop game seemed to be the better workout of the two popular Wii Fit games. The writers of the study note, “This could be attributed to the fact that the hula involves more total body movement exercise than step and uses more muscle groups.”
Now you have an even better reason to play video games. Games like Hula played at advanced levels seem to provide some really good health benefits.
“[The] findings suggest that the Wii Fit can be used as an effective activity for promoting physical health in this population.”
Just remember that you won’t get much benefit from the beginning levels of game play, you’ll need to play the intermediate to advanced levels to get the most benefit. Still though, not a bad way to get a bit of exercise!
Just make sure there are no hidden cameras around or you could end up on YouTube looking like this: