It’s a bit ironic isn’t it? When once video games and TV kept us glued to the couch, they now also work to encourage exercise through innovative ways.
For those who dread trekking it to the gym to workout or are unmotivated to find a good route to go for a run every day, active video games aka “exergames” could be a motivating, fun and alternative solution. But how effective are fitness games such as Wii Fitthat get you off the couch and have you running around exercising in the comfort of your own home when it comes to losing weight?
Are these games sufficient substitutions for the more traditional physical work out?
In most cases, the traditional workout, whether that be playing a game of tennis or kick boxing, is able to burn twice as many calories than their exergaming counterparts, says Jim White, registered dietician, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For instance, Wii Golf burns an average of 3 calories per minute whilst regular golf burns 6.5 calories per minute.
However, they are not a complete waste of time because “something is better than nothing when it comes to physical activity,” says White.
Despite this, there are many people out there that swear by these games! They’re fun and their goal might not necessarily be to help you lose weight but help to get you interested in these activities in a real world situation while encouraging you to get moving in the mean time.Pros:
- Good for working on balance, coordination and agility
- Convenient if you can’t get out of the house
- Provide motivation with scores you can try to beat
- Creates friendly competition between friends and family
- Good for encouraging kids to exercise
- And sometimes, they’re just plain fun!
- This or any form of exercise has a high chance of being ineffective without a balanced eating program
- Doesn’t equal to actual fitness as little more than a flick of the wrist is needed in some instances
- Quicker gains (or losses when it comes to weight) can be seen with more traditional workouts
It’s best to just say that you’ll get out of an exercise session what you put into it whether it be facilitated by a video game or not!
Who uses or has used exergames before to lose weight or get fit? We’d love to hear about your experiences and how effective they were for your weight loss journey.
Written by Lucy, resident blogger of www.sureslim.com.au