I never really saw the appeal in getting your workout at home in front of the TV courtesy of your Wii Fit. Surely all those pretty girls from the ads are doing the world an injustice by not putting themselves in a public place when they wish to do all those stretches and exercises?
Okay, enough rhetoric. I used to own a Wii and it was fun for a bit but then you get bored of having to stand in front of the TV like an idiot so I developed the right technique to play Sports games such as Wii Bowling or Golf while comfortably seated although Rockstar Table-tennis is just too intense for your to remain seated. Turns out that despite my laziness, I wasn’t getting any fitter jumping around in front of my TV than I was sitting down.
Makes no sense to me but then these were the findings of what appears to have been a very narrow survey in Texas. It’s basic logic that if you’re moving around you will burn calories like a fatty in hell and if you’re sprawled across the couch then you may as well call yourself Jabba and get your very own slave Leia (I hear Patagonia has them at good prices). A study published by the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Let’s just throw doubt on everything these people say right now by stating that their sample group was a mammoth 78 kids of the millions in the US alone.
“We expected that playing the video games would in fact lead to a substantial increase in physical activity in the children,” said lead researcher Tom Baranowski, PhD. “Frankly we were shocked by the complete lack of difference.”
Either they took kids who are on a fast-track to competing in the Olympics and therefore need to be outrunning a train before they even break a sweat or they took a group of human donuts who would only be able to lose any amount of weight if it fire was involved.
The study itself is basic enough. Take the 78 kids, split them up into two groups and give Group A EA Sports Active or Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 3 whilst Group B gets to play Madden or Mario Kart Wii. The kids then wore accelerometers to gauge how many calories were being burned during the study’s 13 week duration.
Turns out the study concluded that there is no discernible difference between the calories lost by sitting on your couch and hopping up and down in front of it.
Any fool will immediately see that this study is limited, severely. It assumes that you will only exercise using your legs which is kind of like eating a steak using only a spork. It’s also unclear whether the active kids were compensating by being less active at school and vice versa with the inactive ones who played Mario Kart.
Nevertheless, Dr. Baranowski said based on his study that “there’s no public health benefit from having those active video games.”
So if there’s one thing you can take away from this it’s that you don’t buy a console for fitness and once again we arrive at the conclusion that the Wii really does serve no meaningful purpose.