Obesity affects millions of Americans, but making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help fight this epidemic. If you don’t like going to the gym or just prefer to work out at home, exercising may seem like a challenge. This is where your Nintendo Wii comes in. In a study by the American Council on Exercise, Wii Fit was shown to offer calorie-burning benefits. While the researchers did note that other forms of exercise should be done as well, Wii Fit provides a mild to moderate workout that helps obese individuals ease into activity.
How Wii Fit Works
Wii Fit is an exercise game that works in conjunction with the Wii Balance Board, a platform that you stand on during play that detects all your movements and reflects them onto your TV screen. It is important to note that Wii Fit is not suited for all obese people. The Balance Board has a weight limit of 330 lbs., so only those individuals weighing less than this should use it. When you first start using the game, not all exercises will be available; however, as your level of fitness improves, you unlock more challenging activities. For an obese person unaccustomed to exercise, this provides a gradual introduction to fitness.
Wii Fit has several aerobics-based games that provide cardiovascular exercise to burn calories, increase your heart rate and reduce body fat. With the Wii, you can choose from a variety of dance games that will have you stepping to the beat, or you can try step aerobics or even a fun hula hoop game. Wii Fit’s running game is another way to blast calories and help shed excess weight. With this game, you can start with walking and work your way up to jogging. This allows you to set your own pace and get the same benefits that you would if you were doing it in a more traditional format. All of these activities are suitable for obese people, but you do need to listen to your body and take breaks as needed so you don’t overdo it.
Strength training makes up a vital portion of a complete fitness routine. Wii Fit provides an alternative to solitary strength training workouts by giving you step-by-step instructions, along with advice if your form is off. Exercises for all your major muscle groups are included, and basic moves, like lunges, torso twists and leg extensions are a few of the beginning activities that are ideal for obese people just starting a fitness routine.
Balance and Yoga
Having good balance is another important part of fitness, and people who are obese often experience decreased balance control due to the excess weight, which can lead to falls and general unsteadiness. To improve your balance, Wii Fit has several activities targeting this area, including soccer and ski games that test your stability. Yoga, which focuses on fitness of the body and mind, will also help with balance, and people of all sizes can add this activity into their routine with the help of Wii Fit. The game will show you how to do basic and advanced poses while offering tips on breathing techniques and proper form.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Halting the Epidemic by Making Health Easier At A Glance 2011
- American Council on Exercise: Wii Fit or Just a Wee Bit?
- Wii Fit Plus: What is Wii Fit Plus?
- Wii Fit Plus: Aerobics
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Comparison Between Nintendo Wii Fit Aerobics and Traditional Aerobic Exercise in Sedentary Young Adults.
- Wii Fit Plus: Strength Training
- WiiFit.org: Wii Fit - Unlock All Strength Training Games
- Journal of the American Aging Association: The Impact of Obesity on Balance Control in Community-Dwelling Older Women.
- Wii Fit Plus: Balance Games
- Wii Fit Plus: Yoga
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