Wii Fit: Getting fit or staying at home? Technology has been advancing at a fast rate since the 1980s, especially with video games. I'm a gamer (mainly RPGs and FPS, Final Fantasy nerd!!!) that started his days with Mario brothers, Contra, and Ninja Turtles. Evolving from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) into Super NES, almost every console from then to the new generation console (everything except for PS3, no money for it yet) I have come to own and play on a regular basis. Generally people would think that gamers do not get exercise, or that gamers are fat, but gamers are very diverse, especially in body type. Despite the fact that gamers and children that are "soon-to-be" nerdy gamers like me are diverse in demographics and ethnicities, the general public point the finger towards video games and other advancements towards convenience for the raising numbers of childhood obesity, type-2 diabetes, and overall increasing numbers in cardiovascular disease (CVD). As a gamer I say “Bull****” but as a trainer, I see the connection. The younger generation, even adults, prefers to be in an indoor setting with some type of monitor in front of them. I can relate to that because when I am at home I really need some type of noise to get me going, either leaving the TV on, using the computer, playing music, or playing on my 360. People of this day and age find their activities involving a monitor, which prevent them from going outside, or even moving around the house. Take this, a couple of my cousins came over to my house and my cable Internet was down. I told them we could all go to the park because there is a party there. Both said they were going to go home. Why? It was all because one wasn’t able to go on Facebook or watch her Korean dramas online, and the other wasn’t able to play with their friends via XBOX Live. Really?! So what can you do to get people to exercise now-a-days when stuff like this is integrated into their everyday routine so deeply? Which is probably one of the reasons why Nintendo has developed a game called Wii Fit, which has the player perform easy to learn exercises to help the individual become fit, and by fit I mean become lean and increase stamina. They recently (in 2009 if you think that is recent or old, whatever) released the 2nd edition to the Wii Fit where you are able to perform more exercises and have them set like a playlist, where you can perform one exercise and quickly go to the next one without stopping or taking the time to select another one. There are many questions that float around the Wii Fit: "does it really work? Can I really lose weight from this? Is it a good source of exercise for me," etc. I am not the only one that has been thinking about this, this topic actually has been the focus of a couple of studies. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has just printed out an article about their findings towards the Wii Fit. A few gaming magazines and shows have reviewed the game in regards of fitness and in gameplay. In reality, I think the gaming reviews are all wrong... not really. Most of them somewhat correlate with what I think about the game, but others just give the game a low rating. In the aspects of fitness, the Wii Fit is good for beginners who are new to fitness (and new to video games) and younger children, especially for those that hate playing outside (damn you kids). The exercises are relatively easy to do, and for children now-a-days who are more technology-knowledgeable and stuck on the TV screen, it is a good transition for them to get from sitting down to moving around. Same thing goes for adults, the only differences towards their approach with the Wii Fit is that they are able hold themselves accountable with what they are doing (having a virtual trainer keep track of their progress and attendance) and ability to unlock different activities (the gamers’ pride to finish everything). On the down side, this game does not provide enough exercises for those that are more intermediate and/or advance. The only challenges would be to challenge the trainers in the game, but that is somewhat easy if you are already performing more vigorous exercises than the ones in Wii Fit. For children, their attention span is VERY limited so if they already went through exercises/activities that they like and there is nothing else, no way they are going to continue that for more than 5 minutes. For the most part regarding fitness for the general, anything that has you moving around and actually participating in exercises is good for you. It really just depends on what the individual wants at the end of it all. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to be able to run a mile? Do you want to even run OUTSIDE? If your goal is weight loss, start with this and make sure you go through a 1-hour session with the Wii Fit 5 to 7 days a week. If your goal is strength, the exercises are a great start, especially if you do not have any other type of exercise equipment. Do the strength training exercises 2 to 3 days a week, but you would probably have to do more repetitions to really get some small results. With the strength training exercises, however, the focus would be to get you used to the exercise and then gain more muscular endurance vs. muscular strength. Muscle endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to sustain repeated contractions against a certain amount of resistance over extended period of time, i.e. being able to do over 100s of pushups. Muscular strength is the ability your muscles would be able to generate force in a short period of time, i.e. power lifters. For the Wii Fit, you wouldn’t really get stronger, unless you just started working out and doing the exercises is hard at first or you have to add more weight to use while on the Wii Fit. The Wii Fit is more focused on muscular endurance other than getting big and bulky… but there are not that many big brawny size people in Japan. The Wii Fit is a good thing to start with, but that is all. It is something to START with, for BEGINNERS. You will not see a lot of very fit people using the Wii Fit as their primary source of exercise, but mostly using it for the fun aspect. You would not really see results from using the Wii Fit from the general public. You would really need to commit to an everyday program with the Wii Fit, but in reality, that is how it is with fitness. There is no easy, fast, and/or quick solution towards fitness and weight loss despite what commercials tell you. It is a life changing thing and for those that are apprehensive towards that change, try the Wii Fit. If that is boring for you, (only in regards to exercise not because of the gameplay) try doing other exercises/activities outside the Wii Fit. The outside world is not as scary as you think or see it on TV.
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