Can my console really help to keep me fit?
When the Nintendo Wii was first released to the European market in 2008, a lot of buzz was generated with the idea that playing computer games could replace a sweaty workout at the gym.
Available with a range of games that are supposed to get you fit, toned and balanced, the Wii does seem like an easy and accessible solution to the country’s spiraling weight problems.
But can a computer console really help to keep you fit? And does that mean we can all hang up our trainers for good?
Getting you moving
The key selling point for these sorts of games is that they get players up off the sofa and moving around.
This is definitely a plus point and no matter how gentle the game is, moving around will still help to burn more calories than sitting on the sofa.
Even swinging the controllers in a game of golf or tennis will start to get the blood pumping around the body, and the more you get into it and the faster you move, the more calories you’ll burn as you play.
Exercising with a friend is always easier than exercising alone, and when playing with a computer console this is no different.
Group games and tournaments are great for getting a bit of competitive energy into your games, and will help the whole family get off the sofa and burn some calories.
One of the big selling points of the Wii Fit is the balancing board that comes with it, and in fact the balancing games are some of the most productive that you can do.
They’ll help to improve your spatial awareness and coordination, and help to tone up your muscles a bit too.
Who is it suited to?
As many of the games start out gently, they are ideal for the elderly, the young and people with low levels of fitness.
The more you play, the harder the exercise will become, as more levels are unlocked for you to explore. In fact, people who already have a good level of fitness may well find the first few levels a little boring.
The games are also perfect for families, as everyone can get involved in the fun and fitness.
A danger of consoles like the Wii Fit is that it can cause people to become complacent.
Though these games are great for getting people back into exercise or as an extra part of your health regime, they are not an alternative to real exercise and shouldn’t be your only daily activity.
Using a games console to help you keep fit won’t do you any harm, and if you find you don’t use it you can always sell your Nintendo Wii online and buy some trainers with the profits.
Paul Seward is an avid video game player as well as a heath and fitness fanatic. He writes regularly about everything and anything to do with getting fit and staying fit.