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Is Wii Fit a fitness failure fad?
Or is it a matter of commitment? Thanks, Adriel at http://www.adrielyapana.com, for sharing this article. It’s a prime example of our societies bent on the quick fix. Although it’s a brilliant marketing strategy, Wii Fit is not the quick and easy fix that it may be perceived to be. Fitness is not just fun and games. It’s also hard work and discipline, in all of it’s modalities. This is like when people join a gym, expecting a change to take place, but then they only go a few times before never going back again. A real commitment to change needs to be made!
Please, share thoughts and comments after reading.
The Truth About Wii Fit and Weight Loss
BURLINGAME, CALIF.–Nintendo’s exercise game Wii Fit is still flying off retail shelves eight months after its U.S. release last May. The all-in-one instructional tool, weight tracker and fitness coach advertises itself as a painless way for the whole family to get healthy thanks to the game’s “balance board,” which measures players’ movement. Offering a selection of activities–from running to push-ups to yoga–Wii Fit is now in almost 1.5 million homes across the country. But is anyone actually using it?
Not really, says Brian Crecente, managing editor of the popular gaming blog Kotaku. Despite optimistic predictions that Nintendo had unleashed a new era of videogames, Crecente calls Wii Fit little more than an exercise fad that’s bound to come and go like any other. “I don’t know a single person who has bought the game who uses it routinely after a month,” he claims, stressing that getting results from the game requires dedication and real physical exertion. “What Nintendo did is they tapped into that desire people have to be healthier… Everyone wants to work out, but nobody really wants to put the effort into it.”
One of the things that’s made Wii Fit so popular is the excitement Nintendo has stirred up with people who don’t normally play. For Crecente, that excitement–and the let down that often comes with it–hit home. “My mom and step dad both tried Wii Fit before it came out,” he says, “and like every other middle-aged American, they loved it.” In fact, they loved it so much they went out and bought a Wii of their own. Months later, though, when Crecente stopped by for a visit, he didn’t need to ask if they’d set foot on their balance board. Their Wii had never even been set up. So much for physical fitness.
Don’t blame Nintendo for people’s sloth, observers say. The company has marketed its new cash cow brilliantly, and it’s not responsible for whether consumers play the game or not. Nintendo declined to comment for this article, but Wii Fit creator Shigeru Miyamoto has previously gone on record and said that the game is less about people losing weight and more about broadening the videogame market. Still, it seems a little disingenuous for Nintendo to heavily market a fitness tool that’s sitting in more than a million American living rooms collecting dust.
That’s not to say Wii Fit doesn’t work–if you play it. Brian Ashcraft, another Kotaku editor, tried the game out faithfully for a month when it was first released in order to review it. The results: He enjoyed the yoga, and started to feel more in shape. But the novelty wore off, and Ashcraft admits he hasn’t picked up the game in a long, long time.
Not everyone, however, is prepared to give up on Wii Fit. Instead of relying on anecdotal evidence, Scott Owens, a professor of exercise science at the University of Mississippi, has started a six-month study to uncover whether placing Wii Fit in a home will actually improve a family’s physical fitness. By donating the game to local participants for three months at a time, then taking it away for another three months, Owens will be able to observe how the game impacts cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and balance. How often families use Wii Fit will be up to them.
Of course, the overall goal of Owens’ study isn’t to question Wii Fit’s effectiveness–it’s to provide more insight into the American obesity epidemic. Right now, Owens speculates that playing traditional videogames might be a contributing factor because it’s a sedentary activity. Results of his study are expected to come out this June.
In the meantime, gamers like Crecente remain skeptical about the Wii Fit hype, predicting that this, too, will pass into fitness fad history. When a neighbor mentioned heading out to buy a Wii Fit recently, Crecente’s advice was simple: Don’t do it. “I have to keep reminding people,” he sighs, “even though it’s a videogame, it’s still exercise. It might be fun a little bit, but it’s work.”