Can Video Games Help Improve Health?

Video games have been taking heat for keeping kids on the couch, when they could be exercising. But there is evidence that certain types of video games can be helpful for physical therapy and other health improvements! What do you think?

Do you use video games for exercise, fitness, or therapy? Leave a comment!

How Video Games Improve Health
Source: Big Fish Games

Coming soon: Wii dumbbells

Wii dumbbells
I still love my Wii, and Wii Fit is my favorite kind of exercise. Yes, I’m that kind of exerciser. You can stop judging me now. LOL

Anyway, my very helpful hubby alerted me to this new Wii accessory, and I had to share it! It’s a clever weighted dumbbell, which attaches to the Wii-mote, so you can add resistance to your Wii workouts. Dubbed the “riiflex,” it’s not in stores yet, but is available for pre-order, in 2 and 5 pound sizes.

Looks like another interesting Wii-novation! But I’m not sure a Wii workout will be as much fun if the accessories actually start to look and feel like gym equipment. The thing I like best about Wii Fit is that it feels more like a game than real exercise. Seriously, exercise that feels like exercise just isn’t as enjoyable for me. Am I right? What do you think?

Prototype shown may not reflect final product design.

Mom? What about the Wii?

Recently, we found out that our family will be moving. Hubby has a new job, and since, you know, we all kinda really love him and stuff, we’re going along with him. 🙂

So we told the kids at dinner one night. Had everybody sitting at the table together and everything. He said, “Well, we have some exciting news. We’re all going to move to Colorado!

It’s difficult to know what thoughts zip through the brains of children at a moment like that. For about two seconds, their eyes and jaws were wide open, and then… the questions.

Can we bring the Wii? What about the Wii?”

Really? Wow. I guess it takes a looming major life change to expose one’s priorities. I suppose it makes sense that they would be concerned about their Nintendo. We don’t have any pets, due to allergies and asthma. I suppose the Wii is the closest thing they have to a puppy.

And I must tell you that the second thing they asked, after we assured them that the Wii and everything else in the house would be making the trip with us, was whether they could bring their friends. So it’s not like they don’t have any human friends.

It got me to wondering about the popularity of video games among kids these days. When I was a young girl, my favorite things were dolls, horses, a BB gun, and an Easy-Bake Oven. My brother collected Hot Wheels cars and played baseball. Other kids collected baseball cards and action figures.

Few families in my town had cable television back in the late 1970s, and almost nobody had a video game system. Now, lots of families have game consoles or handheld devices. My kids would play constantly if I let them. Does anybody collect baseball cards anymore? I don’t know. My kids don’t.

And before you judge me a terrible mother, you should know that my kids do enjoy playing outdoors and doing non-video game activities (when I make them), like reading, running around, getting dirty, building with Legos, etc. But video games are still their favorite hobby. I’d bet there are lots of other kids who are the same way. What’s it like at your house?

Three days with Wii Fit: GeekMom’s review

I have been looking forward to getting my feet on the WiiFit balance board for months, and my early pre-order paid off when it was delivered on Wednesday. (Oh, how I love seeing that UPS man strolling up the sidewalk with a big Amazon box in his arms!)

I’ve been using it for three days, and here are my impressions so far…

Set-up is easy

From box to playtime, it took about 5 minutes. The hardest part (and it’s not really hard) is finding the sync buttons on the board and the Wii console. Once they start talking to each other, it’s just like playing any other game. Watch the screen and follow the instructions.

Don’t take it personally

My family knew how excited I was to finally get the WiiFit, and they gathered around while I took the first turn. We started up the “game,” and I got on the board to create my WiiFit profile. I didn’t know that the WiiFit was going to calculate my BMI and call me a fatty in front of my audience! Okay, it didn’t actually say “fatty,” but be warned that it will collect data including your height, age, and weight. It will calculate your BMI, and show you where that lands you on a scale from underweight to obese.

I was particularly sad when the WiiFit version of my mii went *poof* and became chubby, to match my BMI. Oh well… It’s not personal; it’s mathematical.

Exercise games are really fun

I’m not the kind of girl who enjoys going to a class and getting sweaty with lots of other people. I prefer going for walks by myself, especially in the cool morning or evening air. However, it’s hard for me to make time for that, I don’t always feel safe walking alone, and I hate mosquitoes.

The WiiFit exercises really are like games, and after just one 20 minute session, I could feel it in my muscles. I love that I don’t have to go anywhere to get a little exercise, and it’s more fun than our old treadmill. And no mosquitoes!

Ski racing, ski jumping, stability trials, yoga, calisthenics, jogging, and step-aerobics are some of the games we’ve played so far. There’s also hula-hooping — which is so far my best event! I knew these hips were good for something! Watch out for swiveling badunkadunk!

Seeing results after three days

I’ve been having so much fun doing the exercises, that it’s been effortless to accumulate 20 minutes of activity each day! I’ve recovered from my initial feelings of resentment toward my WiiFit (for calling me fat), and now love the built-in weight and BMI tracking features. My muscles feel good, and my weight and BMI are trending downhill on my WiiFit chart. Yippee!

Unlockable games and features keep it fresh

As you accumulate minutes in your WiiFit Bank (looks like a digital piggy bank), you unlock new games and features. My kids and I get really excited when we get new games! We’ve already unlocked a more advanced Super Hula Hoop game. 🙂

Buy it if you can find it…

From what I’ve heard, the WiiFit is hard to find in stock anywhere, including online. If you find one, grab it!

My Wii Fit has been shipped!

Wii Fit YogaI just got a notification from Amazon that my Wii Fit is on its way! I can hardly wait until the dashing Man in Brown knocks on my door on Wednesday, to deliver this long-awaited prize! Can you tell I’m excited?! 🙂

If you’re not familiar with the Wii Fit, you can check it out at the Nintendo site. I’ll let you know what I think after I’ve had a chance to use it. I’m really looking forward to trying the Yoga program. I’ve been wishing for some kind of Wii physical therapy ever since I started playing Wii Sports!

I have pre-ordered my Wii Fit!

About a week ago, I got an e-mail from Amazon’s notification system that the Wii Fit is available for pre-order. So I bought it! I can hardly wait to try it out.

If you aren’t familiar with the Wi Fit, you can see a video demo at the official Nintendo site. The games and activities work with a sensor balance board. You stand on it, dance, do yoga poses, practice balancing, and lots of other stuff. It looks like a good way to get moving and practice using your core muscles. I’m excited because I love games, and I hate exercise. If this is exercise disguised as a game, I’m all over it!

I can hardly wait until the Man in Brown delivers it to my home (estimated arrival date: May 23, 2008). You can bet I’ll be telling you all about it!