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Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Can a Video Game Improve Your Health?

Posted May 16, 2008 12:00 AM by Sharkles

Can a video game help you look and feel better? The people at Nintendo think so. Eighteen months ago, Nintendo released a new game console unlike any other - the Wii. Unlike other gaming systems, the Wii requires users to move as if they were running, jumping, or doing whatever else is going on within the game. Popularity of the Wii has exploded, revolutionizing how people think about video games. After selling over 25 million consoles worldwide, the Wii wants to be more than family-fun entertainment. Nintendo wants you to use it as part of your workout regimen, too.

The newest gaming experience, Wii Fit, hit Britain last month, becoming one of the fastest-selling games in the U.K. ever. Wii Fit is coming to the North America on May 21st, and is projected to become popular with home-fitness enthusiasts, people who are too busy to make it to a gym, and people (like me) who lack the motivation to go to the gym. When the game was first unveiled at a 2006 conference, it was described as "a way to help families exercise together".

The Wii Fit system is said to cost about $90. Of course, you'll also need the basic Wii console ($250). But for that price, you'll be able to do a range of aerobic exercises, muscle workouts, yoga poses, and balance games. The Wii Fit system itself consists of a balance board, which measures the body's center of balance, body mass index (BMI), and body control. Additionally, the system keeps track of your daily progress and compares it against your previous results, as well as those of your family.

Although Nintendo has not said outright that Wii Fit will dramatically change your body or help you lose a ton of weight, the aim is to get people to do more than just think about health and fitness. I don't have a Wii, so I am relying on the reports of others who've tested this system. Many of the stories I've read were of people who were doubtful that the Wii Fit would even make them break a sweat – but they were wrong.

If you're a regular at the gym, you probably don't need, and not even want Wii Fit. On the other hand, if you want to workout but lack the motivation to do so, then perhaps Wii Fit is a good alternative for you. Personally, if I had a Wii, I would probably check this out. I don't own one, however, so anyone tests out Wii Fit – please let me know!


Resources:
http://www.nintendo.com/wiifit/en/#/home/

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/fashion/15fitness.html?pagewanted=1&ref=health

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23696876-5012602,00.html

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1779642,00.html

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#1

Re: Can a Video Game Improve Your Health?

05/16/2008 9:44 AM

Regular Wii games have a misconception about how much exercise you are actually getting but Wii Fit looks like it could be decent.

If you're looking for another "fun" way to workout, you can definately break a sweat with The Dance Dance Revolution games.

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#2

Re: Can a Video Game Improve Your Health?

05/17/2008 4:34 AM

Seen the ads on TV.. it looks fun (but the ads would do that wouldn't they?)

The ads show a group of people doing it together... it is the missing human interaction that is too often the problem with computer games.
Although of course the best games are when one plays against another human (I play football (soccer) with my son on the PC which is fun...yeh ok he wins most of the time but whadda ya do eh?)

I think I'll stick to my golf (got 2 birdies yesterday..not bad when I only played 14 holes)

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#3

Re: Can a Video Game Improve Your Health?

05/17/2008 9:30 AM

We have been using it for several months, and all the individuals (8) that use it have lost a few pounds and feel better and more fit. We have a 100% positive experience with the claims. The answer then would be "YES".

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#4

Re: Can a Video Game Improve Your Health?

05/19/2008 2:46 PM

I would have to answer a definite YES,my boss got 1 a few months ago and started playing the boxing game in the sports bundle included in most packages,since then he's lost 20 to 30 pounds without changing his diet(at least not at work).He said he'd play for 30 Min's. to an hour and was covered in sweat after 10 Min's.So I would tend to think it does work if you play it every day.I'm going to get 1 myself,and by the way-he's already into his 40's and he still lost weight-we all know how hard it can be to loose unwanted pounds after a certain age so the Wii maybe the ticket.

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#5

Re: Can a Video Game Improve Your Health?

05/20/2008 3:36 PM

http://gizmodo.com/391553/wii-fit-review-by-a-formerly-fit-geek its a pretty good article if your looking for some answers

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