Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Playing Nintendo Wii is 'as healthy as a jog or swim'

Playing video games on the Wii device could protect couch potatoes from having a heart attack, scientists claimed today.

Some of the fitness games available on the computing system involve the user expending as much energy as moderate exercise such as cycling to work.
The best games to improve your health are boxing games and the 'single-arm stand' part of the Nintendo Wii Fit Plus game.

The findings will be welcomed by the Department of Health, which has endorsed the Nintendo Wii Fit Plus: the first computer game to be backed by the government.

The game is allowed to use the NHS's Change4Life logo on its packaging and in advertising.
The Nintendo-funded study was led by Motohiko Miyachi, head of physical activity at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo.
He told the American Heart Association meeting: 'It's a very easy and fun way to start exercising.'

The study found that about one-third of the games and activities included in the Wii sports and Wii fit packages require an energy expenditure of more than 3 METs - a measure of how much energy is expended.

A MET rate of 1 is equivalent to sitting and watching TV, while a rate of 3 is the same as light exercise on an exercise bike, or sexual activity.
The most effective exercise in the study was the single-arm stand featured in the Wii Fit, which came in at 5.6 METs - not much less than moderate jogging.

The Wii sports boxing game is came out with an energy expenditure of 4.5 METs - more than cycling to work or for pleasure.
Both the Wii tennis and baseball games produced moderate intensity expenditures of 3 METs.
But those who play golf games on their Wii will not get the same benefit. These only produce METs of 2 - equivalent to a stroll in the countryside.
METs stands for metabolic equivalent values - a standard method of estimating energy expenditure.

Mr Miyachi said that while the study does not prove health benefits of these games, he said increased time spent playing them 'may contribute to prevention of cardiovascular diseases.'
Mr Miyachi, who said he enjoys the Wii tennis and baseball games, hopes to measure the physical activity expended playing the new Wii resort games and called on other video game makers to develop more active entertainment.
Noting the growing obesity epidemic in Western countries such as the U.S. and the UK, he said some physical activity, even of the video variety, is better than none.

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1 comment:

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