Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

January 6, 2009 -

Will Nintendo's best-selling Wii Fit really help you get into shape?

What They Play reports that Scott Owens, a researcher at the University of Mississippi wants to find out. Owens equipped eight families with Wii Fit last autumn. The study will run for six months. Said Owens:

Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States, and one of the reasons is the adults and children are getting less physical activity. There has been an upswing in sales of whole body movement video games over the past few years. This potentially could help family fitness, so we are looking at the research aspect to see if family fitness improves after purchasing one of these whole body movement game consoles.


Comments

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

 Of course it works! We're talking about traditional exercises like push-ups and sit-ups that have been proven to work for centuries. End of investigation

 

This is a video I just posted this week about my own Wii Fit obsession. Thought you might like. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DYN7hP-swo

 

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

I think this will study will find decent results. What the hell right? Every bit of extra motivation can help and why not the wii. On the other hand, nintendo will stop this story at the first sign of negative feedback on their wii fit. Simply said, wii fit can't hurt but only help.

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Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Personally, I find Wii Fit to be more fun than going to the gym. But I'm still not about to consider it even close to a replacement.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Of course it works. If you did NOTHING before Wii Fit, and now use it, you are definately benefiting yourself.

Wii Fit is not a replacement for a gym or personal training, but if you werent doing anything else, win/win.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

It can help a little. The wife has been doing the step arobic game in concert with dieting and she's lost around 20 pounds since we got the game in Sept. I do believe it's helping her. This is combined WITH dieting though.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

They'll see some improvement if they play the games within wii fit that are likely to improve flexibility and stretching of muscles. I stress the words some and if because it is highly unlikely the difference between this and the control group will be statistically significant even if they do these exercises every day. There are no improvements made from stretching or holding a pose beyond 30 seconds. 

The only results they are likely to garner could be accomplished by simple routine exercises and stretches in an elementary school classroom, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than Wii fit. Don't get me wrong, stretching is good, but paying $130 to do those same stretches is not

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

While it's highly unlikely that a wii fit alone would get you into shape, or even KEEP you in shape, there's no doubt in my mind that regular use of a wii fit is better than sitting on your ass with a controller in your hand.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Yeah but that's the same as saying "walking up to buildings from parking lots is infinitely more healthy then getting in an Amigo."  It's about balance. 

I enjoy sitting on my ass playing a game on my couch.  Most games I play are infinitely more enjoyable than WiiFit is to me.  However I also go to the gym 2-3 times a week.  What WiiFit does for most people is replace the gym aspect.  That's the danger.  It's like dieting at Subway.  Sure, it's better than Burger King but it's STILL BAD FOR YOU."

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Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

 The gyms no better, you're more likely to hurt yourself in the gym than on the Wii fit. Anyone can spin doctor this anyway they want. The only dynamic is your opinion of the device or related activities.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

The gym is a LOT better since it all starts with a warmup to get your heartrate up. 

This is followed by a weight and exercise program as suggested by your personal trainer (most gyms have cheap or free personal trainers to get a routine in place).  As you get better, you can increase weight resistance and repetitions.

And of course end it all with a cardio workout.  Cardio is the most important since THAT'S where calories are shed the most.

Meanwhile, WiiFit is a balance area, the middle part of that workout but too much time between exercises, but fails to deliver meaningful stats like heartrate or even provide a worthwhile cardio experience.  Instead, it reminds you to be sure to breath....

Now, using WiiFit in conjunction with something like DDR and freewights will get you to a better place in regards to a true workout, but how many will do that?  Ever wonder why videos like 5 minute abs are so popular?  Lazy people want the results but not the work.  WiiFit is a sympton of that.

And yes, you can get hurt at the gym.  You can get hurt getting out of bed in the morning.  That doesn't stop you from getting out of bed.  Even if you don't want to spend the gym fees (my gym is cheaper than Netflix), there are alternatives.  WiiFit is a fad exercise diet program that could actually have harmful effects based on how serious someone takes it.

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Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

"The gym is a LOT better since it all starts with a warmup to get your heartrate up."

 No, this is a ritual you need to teach yourself. No one in the gym is going to hold your hand and tell you to stretch or do a quick sprint to get the juices flowing.

"This is followed by a weight and exercise program as suggested by your personal trainer (most gyms have cheap or free personal trainers to get a routine in place).  As you get better, you can increase weight resistance and repetitions."

 I don't know what gym you go to, but personal trainers are not free, nor are they always the people to be talking to. All the advice they give you is based on their experiences and as such are no better than the Wii fit for guessing whats best for you.

"And of course end it all with a cardio workout.  Cardio is the most important since THAT'S where calories are shed the most."

 What is this? A lesson in common sense? We aren't talking about what to do at the gym, but rather that there is no difference between the Wii fits motivation and that at the gym. Everything in between is based on your own preference, nothing more. For example, I do my cardio before I lift, as it limbers me up and gets my body in workout mode.

"Meanwhile, WiiFit is a balance area, the middle part of that workout but too much time between exercises, but fails to deliver meaningful stats like heartrate or even provide a worthwhile cardio experience.  Instead, it reminds you to be sure to breath...."

 Heartrate means nothing, you can qualify your exercise by how you're feeling, and unless you're keeping tables of how long you can keep your heartrate at a threshold level, this datum is useless. Quite frankly, I wish I had someone to remind me to breath more, its one of the things I need to work on.

"Now, using WiiFit in conjunction with something like DDR and freewights will get you to a better place in regards to a true workout, but how many will do that?  Ever wonder why videos like 5 minute abs are so popular?  Lazy people want the results but not the work.  WiiFit is a sympton of that."

 As is most exercise equipment outside of free weights and the running track. Treadmill? Get off your lazy ass and get some air. Stairclimber? Something wrong with running up and down the steps? Pull-downs? Girly-man can't use the free weights?

"And yes, you can get hurt at the gym.  You can get hurt getting out of bed in the morning.  That doesn't stop you from getting out of bed.  Even if you don't want to spend the gym fees (my gym is cheaper than Netflix), there are alternatives.  WiiFit is a fad exercise diet program that could actually have harmful effects based on how serious someone takes it."

 Last I checked, I don't suspend large steel hunks of metal over my squishy bits when I get out of bed. All I see is an technophobe terrorified that someone may have found an easier, cheaper method of keeping fit.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Me, I have WiiFit and Wii Sports (course, on the latter). Frankly, I don't want to go to gyms. I'm a geek, but I have some self confidence issues, and I much rather do exercise in the privacy of my own home.  

Add to that that frankly, I don't have the time available to actually schedule a meaningful amount of time at the gym means that me using a gym is bloody near zero.

So, I use WiiFit. I'm trying to work out a decent regimin with it, combining the two games (step exercises, some Wii Boxing, as well as the yoga and games), but for me the more important thing is that I -enjoy- it. That means I do it of my own free will, not out of some compulsion or "I should do this but I dun wanna" that means I do it half-assed if at all.

On the article, I doubt that the study will say that the WiiFit will give you a garunteed weight loss. They'll hedge it with saying that without any proper dieting, you won't get any real weight loss. Even so, some exercise is better than none. To use the earlier example, yeah, you may still be eating subway junk food, but it -is- better than McDonalds junk food.

 

Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you'll get caught in them.

Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you'll get caught in them.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

But Wiifit is not a safe way of doing exercises, on Gamesradar they said this saying there is a reason why Yoga is an industry. You have no idea if you are putting stress in places you aren't supposto be which misuse of Wii fit could lead to long term back or hip problems. People are there to train Yoga for a reason.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

 And these people have read a yoga-book at best. At worst, they know nothing and are looking for easy cash. Same goes with martial artists; that mullet-wearing white guy down the street in the Karate studio is not some ancient master ready to teach you the ways.

Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Prediction:  Shigeru Miyamoto will have to tell the US audience, just as he had to tell the Japanese audience, that WiiFit is for entertainment purposes only and NOT an actual exercise program...

...and the cattle will continue to ignore this fact.

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Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Prediction 2: Dependent on the person's activity level before, and activity replaced.

If someone is really fat and never does anything but lay on their couch with a bag of chips and soda, and they are replacing that activity, they could get thinner, and the activity in general could make them more fit, but they still will not be athletic because of it.  If they are replacing playing basketball outside with Wii Fit, then they will most likely not benefit at all if not disservice by it.

Wii Fit's strength testing is a pretty good workout for the most part, but they need to have it change over time to gradually do more serious workouts to be of value to become fit, and not just more fit than once before.

All in all, no 2 people are alike, and I believe that is what the study will prove if they have a varied testing audience, from athletic families to unhealthy couch potato families.

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Re: Does Wii Fit Really Work? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Prediction: No

 
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