In a study published in the Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal, researchers found that “thirty minutes of Nintendo Wii Sports boxing provides a moderate to vigorous aerobic response in healthy young adults and can contribute to daily recommendations for physical activity”.

This study backs up another 2012 study which found “that Nintendo Wii Fit “Free Run” may act as an alternative to traditional moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in fulfilling the American College of Sports Medicine requirements for physical activity.”

And another study which found that “exergaming has the potential to increase physical activity and have a favorable influence on energy balance, and may be a viable alternative to traditional fitness activities for children of various BMI levels”.

Pretty cool…huh?

But before you cancel your gym membership and go buy some exercise video games, there are a few limitations to exercise video games.

  • These games are primarily upper-body dominant. In a 2011 study, researchers found that “current Wii and PlayStation Exer-Fit technology failed ACSM guidelines for cardiovascular fitness….but that a specially adapted lower limb controlled PS2 allowed participants to exceed the ACSM guidelines”.
  • In my experience, video game playing quite often includes copious quantities of Doritos and Coke. This may have a negative impact on the health benefits of Wii boxing
  • Gamers don’t play exercise video games – and exercisers like to actually exercise… in real life
The Top 10 Video Games of 2012…include one exercise-friendly game.
  1. Mass Effect 3
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  3. NBA 2K12
  4. Just Dance 3
  5. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  6. Battlefield 3
  7. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
  8. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
  9. UFC Undisputed 3
  10. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Of course…all of these pros and cons are technology dependent.

Who’s to say that in 5 years, we don’t have a fully virtual gaming experience where the movement of our avatar is directly related to the movement of of physical bodies in a much more accurate manner. If you want your character to sprint out of the line of fire…you have to sprint…same with jumping, diving, pushing, pulling, etc…

That would be pretty cool.

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