Wii exercise is a whole new concept to use video games and stay fit at the same time. You probably all ready know something of the Nintendo Wii console launched a few years ago, its exercise potential, and the evolving games and applications to go with it.
The original system had a choice of five games, tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing, and golf. These games use a wireless motion sensitive controller, called the Wii remote, that you could use in the game just as you would use a racket or golf club for example, in the real sport. This means that a certain amount of movement is necessary on the part of the player.
Vigorous play, particularly with tennis and boxing, can get your heart rate up a bit and burn a few calories but as you dont move your legs very much they are not really a workout by any means. Since these early games however, the system has evolved, as various add-ons have appeared that considerably extend the possibilities.
The appearance of the Wii fit with its pressure sensitive balance board offered the possibilities of aerobic exercises and yoga moves. It has been claimed that these activities expend more energy than an average walk and they have therefore been endorsed by the National Health Service in the UK and governments generally. The American Heart Association found Wii sport boxing to be as strenuous as a round of golf carrying your own clubs.
The original Wii works by stealth to get you to exercise, and is amusing and fun for a few people to play together. The Wii Fit is a more serious attempt to enable a person to increase their fitness by increasing levels of exercise, and does require more commitment. The plastic balance board detects the pressures you exert on it, allowing it to work out your body mass index, centre of gravity, and hence assess your posture.
You can pick a virtual trainer to guide you trough the exercises which are of four types: yoga, aerobic (running or stepping), muscle-toning (e.g. sit-ups), and balance improving (e.g. simulating ski slaloms).
The exercises are only one to two minutes each but you need to repeat them until you are considered safe to go to the next level.
For those who would rather work out at home at their own pace than go to a gym the Wii system is excellent. The later versions allow you to set your own programs and targets, and you feel strangely satisfied as you progress from one level to another. Some claim that this system is no substitute for proper exercise like a run in the fresh air or actual game of tennis, but, any exercise is better than none, and for many this may confer on them more exercise than they have been used to in a long time.
An additional application in the form of a cyberbike is to appear in the near future. This exercise bicycle will hook up with the Wii system to enable you to cycle through an ever-changing virtual world that gives you something to look at and prevents boredom whilst exercising. We may be on the brink of an explosion in the technology of gaming with the promise of 3D and constantly improving graphics, and Nintendo with Wii intends to be there with the best.