I was recently told of a man who took a day off from work, where he was paid hundreds of dollars per hour, to stand in line for the Wii his daughter so desperately wanted. He stood there for nearly five hours, finally reaching the front of the line only to discover that the man before him was about to get the last Wii. The two entered a bidding war, raising the product’s price into the thousands. The man won but only after he paid the other desperate dad a few hundred dollars to stop bidding. Combining the lost paycheck, the Wii itself and the bribe, the man lost a grievous amount of money for a video game. Was it worth it, or should he have saved his time and bank account, and opted for an XBOX?
If he was thinking health, as we all are, he chose the correct product. The Wii is designed to force kids (and adults) out of their seats. Playing one of the many sports – tennis, bowling, archery, etc – will send the user into simulation override as he twists, thrusts, waves, swings and essentially thrashes his way to victory. He’ll be up and mobile, a goal so rarely achieved, and he’ll burn 60 more calories in one hour than he would if playing the alternative, the XBOX. However, we come back to our original question. Is that mobility worth the thousands one man spent for it?
Sadly, no. The Wii will get you moving, but it won’t get you exercising to the extent you need. The intensity level is too minimal to count towards the recommended 60 minutes a day for adolescents. For that to happen, you have to be engaging in moderate to vigorous exercise, a level that can be achieved by playing . . . actual sports. My suggestion then? Use the Wii as a warm up. Practice your tennis skills with the one-handed controller and then, hit the real courts. Trade in your virtual ball and racket for actual ones and reap the rewards of real exercise.