Since Nintendo extended their range of games a few years ago to include wii fitness games and exercises, it has become possible to improve ones fitness by playing Wii sports games and following their personal trainer program.
The Wii fitness games were the first to come out and enabled players to simulate real games such as tennis, golf and boxing, by using the game controller or remote like an actual racquet, golf club, or gloved fist.
These games were hugely popular straightaway as they brought a whole new dimension to video gaming. They encouraged people to get off the sofa and stand up and move a bit in order to play. These games then do help you exercise to an extent but you are standing in one spot so the calorie burning effects will be limited.
Probably the best game for burning a few calories and improving fitness is the boxing game where you move around quite a bit. For this you need to connect a second controller, known as a Nunchuk, to the Wii remote.
This plugs into the base of the remote and is held in the opposite hand from the remote. Boxing is much like tennis in that it is actually more subtle than it at first appears. When you first play your natural tendency is to lash out furiously, but as you become more experienced you get used to the possibilities of more subtle angling of the controls and direction of punching, allowing you to make more effective combination punches.
It has been estimated that an hours play of Wii tennis or boxing will burn over 100 calories and is equivalent to a brisk walk. This will not get you ultra fit but it is a step in the right direction.
Much more exercise is possible by using the later Wii fit games together with the use of the Wii balance board. This enabled sports simulations such as skateboarding and skiing to be offered where it is necessary to maintain balance and hence use the leg muscles.
Electronic Arts offered their Sports Active program for the Wii which in some ways was even better as it focused more on keeping fit by undertaking a series of exercises that included yoga and body movement exercises graded in difficulty.
The virtual ski slalom is great fun whilst testing your poise and balance. Its a game where several people can compete by taking it in turns, and it can help improve your posture by working those leg muscles.
The yoga exercises also can be quite challenging as you are required to maintain a posture for a while. This is not a piece of cake for someone who has never before tried yoga.
There is now a whole range of titles available that make use of the balance board and many of these will help develop fitness. One, called My Fitness Coach has 500 exercises, including cardio, flexibility and strength training.
Another title you can get is called The Biggest Loser which is not only for losing weight but also for improving fitness. The program has upper and lower body exercises, core muscle workouts, cardio workouts and yoga exercises. There are a number of different challenges you can take.
Wii Fit games will not take the place of structured gym sessions with a real personal trainer, but they can certainly help to get you fitter if you use them enough and on a long term basis. This should not be too difficult when you take into account the very wide range of games and exercises available.