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Study shows Wii Sports burn calories for adults—maybe not kids

Wii Sports, the popular sports simulation video game, may get you sweating, but it’s still no substitute for the gym.

That’s the conclusion of a study sponsored by The American Council on Exercise (ACE), which has just announced it’s research findings.

Conducted exclusively by University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program, the study, released Tuesday, shows that playing the five Wii games – golf, tennis, baseball, bowling and boxing – will burn anywhere from 3.9 to 10.2 calories per minute.

“While the caloric benefit was rather modest, the take home message from this study, as the researchers indicated, is that playing these games on Wii is better than sitting around,” said Thayne Munce, Ph.D, a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition.
The study called for eight men and eight women between the ages of 20 to 29 years old to play the Wii games as they would be playing the sports in reality. The participants played the games for 10 minute intervals, and researchers recorded their heart rates and oxygen uptake every minute.

According to the study’s results, boxing burned the most calories, compared to the other games – 216 calories for 30 minutes of play. Wii Boxing is also intense enough to qualify as a way to improve or maintain cardiorespiratory endurance, according to the Indianapolis-based American College of Sports Medicine.

At the low end, 30 minutes of Wii Golf only burns 117 calories.

However, playing a real game of golf or boxing will burn more calories, experts said, and the skills used for playing Wii sports and playing real sports are not necessarily the same.

“While many of the Wii Sports games are fairly realistic, one should not mistake the skill set required to be successful in these games with the real thing,” Munce said. “I don’t think that anyone is going to become an all-star baseball player by skipping practice and playing their Wii.”

On the upside, Wii Sports are a great alternative for people, like senior citizens, who cannot play sports because of physical ailments.

“If we can get these older people to engage in a variety of movement activities, we can help them maintain better joint mobility,” said Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., chief science officer at ACE.

Interestingly enough, adults are more frequently the purchasers and players of Wii and its games, according to Chicago video game merchants.

“I don’t see many kids coming in here looking for Wii games,” said Cordero McCalure, an 18-year-old senior game adviser at the GameStop in the South Loop. Since the Wii was released in 2006 – and sold with the Wii Sports game as a package – more adults have purchased it than kids, he said.

Best Buy employees in the South Loop agree that more adults play with the Wii than do kids, but it’s hard to tell if adults are buying it for themselves or for their kids.

Nintendo’s newest Wii gadget, Wii Fit, is specifically targeted to adults as a workout device. And ACE is already researching its potential health benefits.

Even though kids are the stereotypical video game users, it appears that Wii games which promote physical activity are ultimately more popular with adults.

Xbox and Playstation 3 are more popular with kids, according to McCalure, because, “You can sit down and play instead of doing all the movements.”

“Kids don’t want to play the Wii,” he said.

Via: Medill Reports

Filed by: MiiGolfer at July 28th, 2008 under News


I could see how the Wii could be a bit of a work out! I like your site good blogs!

Comment by John — November 13, 2008 @ 12:12 pm

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