23 Jan 2008

Canadian students come to the same conclusion as I did on the Wii

filed under: journal  :: fitness  :: modern life  :: wii

According to this Reuters story, it seems some Canadian university students did a similar Wii experiment as the one I described previously, and came to the same conclusion:

[One of the students] and 27 students in the Applications in Exercise Physiology class tested the impact of playing the Wii boxing game for 30 minutes against a 30-minute walk in a local park and an equal amount of time doing a boxercise video.

Every student did each activity and their heart rate was measured as well as how hard they thought they had worked out for all three activities.

They found that the Wii did get people off the couch and more active but, as a cardiovascular workout, it didn't pass the test.

They found that the walk in the park was the easiest (though they didn't say how fast they were walking), followed by Wii boxing, then the boxercise video.

I would argue that the walk in the park is a better exercise for the very unfit or overweight person, since it is a weight bearing exercise that uses the large muscles of the lower body. IANAD or PT of course. And Wii Boxing is the one Wii Sports game that gives a fairly decent workout.

(Comments have been closed on this post, since it seems to be a spam magnet. Mentioning "Wii" seems to do it.)

Comments on this post:

I love to see studies where

I love to see studies where people actually research issues in fitness to form conclusions. The wii like many other products will make a difference if they are just followed closely.

Personally, I've never been

Personally, I've never been tired out playing my Wii. I can't see it being a cardiovascular workout without using drastic movements and just wildly flailing my arms. And you can sweat doing any activity, it's a reaction to heat not heart pressure.

Thanks for enlightening us

Thanks for enlightening us folks who are "pre-wii"....I am a "pong" era freak....

Fabulous feedback!

Thank you again for your considered and very useful reply!

Interesting alternative

I'm sorry to hear you hurt your back, Maki, and I hope you can quickly make a full recovery. I hurt mine in a BIG way last February and wasn't able to move for much of last year. I've just started to move around a bit now, have been able to start cooking some food again, but occasionally I get a set-back which puts me back in bed. Unless I'm with my husband Kenji I'm actually very nervous about going out on my own. Those walks in the park I should be taking in order to get myself fully recovered are just too scary when your back feels like a ticking time bomb. Thanks for your comments about Wii. Obviously, from my position, it looks a rather attractive way to build up some muscle mass in a controlled environment. I'm very glad to have the opportunity to chew over your opinion (and those of the Canadian students). Being unable to work for over a year means my finances aren't great - so a Wii purchase isn't an expense I'd take lightly. Building up my arms without holding any weights does sound attractive though.... ---- Now that your back hurts, is there anything on the Wii you would personally avoid doing in order not to strain it further?

I actually had to go to

I actually had to go to phsical therapy for playing the wii so much, so I can understand this post. Was looking for info and found this post. very informative thx

haha surely thats not true,

haha surely thats not true, you would have to play constantly or slightly madly to damage yourself.


Hi Loretta! Well, Wii Sports primarily uses the arms and a bit of the legs, so it's not that useful really for strengthening the areas that you need to do for alleviating and preventing back pain. I've always had a back problem (I strained it badly in my teens, bowling of all things) and I've found the things that work best are stretching and 'core strength' type things like yoga and pilates and regular stretching things. (I'm looking forward to Wii Fit becoming available in Europe since the demo videos show yoga...)

About the arms

Sorry, I should have been more precise. It's not preventative exercises I was hoping the Wii might help with. I spent most of last year in bed, getting out only in a wheelchair, so both my legs and arms have atrophied considerably. Walking obviously helps my legs, but finding ways of building up my arms without using weights is my real challenge - and one that I have no idea how to tackle. The question I had for you is - with your back being tender, does a Wii game that makes you use your arms strain your back in any way? I have a series of exercises from my physiotherapist to help with stretching and core strength - but she never tackles my arms (and although they're thin, they've become horribly flabby!). Unfortunately, she can't answer my Wii question. Thanks for responding - I really appreciate it!

arms and Wii

Ah, ok now I understand you Loretta. Well, Wii Sports does require that you actually move your body a bit in order to 'reach' and move around a bit, especially Tennis. So I'm not sure if you can play it while sitting down. Boxing, which is the most active Wii Sport and engages both arms rather than just one, requires a bit of bobbing and weaving and so may not be good for your back if you have to keep it steady. Other games can be played sitting down but don't really exercise your arms that much, though they are fun of course. The Wii controller itself is not that heavy, though the feedback you get may add some resistance to the muscles. I have a feeling (and of course I'm not a doctor or physiotherapist!) that for your needs, you would be better off with some kind of very light weight training program for your arms, or isometrics, or something like that. This is a site for U.S./NTSC videos but it has very detailed reviews of all kinds of exercise videos, including ones for people in wheelchairs - . If you have a region-free DVD player it may be useful!

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