Ratings for Workout Games? Wii Fit Is In Big Trouble

Amy Kuras

video game fitnessPlaying video games, especially in a serious, chief source of free time fun kind of way, is one of those things I just don't "get." At least I felt that way until the Wii came out. I love the idea of a game that actually gets you up and doing something versus sitting on the couch pushing a button over and over and over and over.

I know plenty of people who consider the Wii Fit workout games their chief form of exercise; unsurprisingly, none of them have gotten slender and buff.

Wii games burn about 120 calories per half-hour, which is a huge disappointment to people who thought they would be the magic bullet to finally get them in shape. That might change, though, if a rating system proposed by child psychiatrist Paul Ballas ever happens. He suggests rating games based on how many calories they burn. While his idea is aimed at kids, it would certainly help adults too.

Playing Wii, even the active versions, burns about half the amount of calories of the real-life version of the sport, and it just doesn't offer a really great workout. It can be a good beginning to exercise for a sedentary person or a fun addition for someone who's already active, but it falls well short of the significant calorie burn needed to drop weight. Ballas's idea would let people know the average calorie burn to expect from the games they choose.

With new game systems coming down the pike later this year, this sounds like a good idea to me. I recently got to play with the new XBox Kinect system, which uses cameras to make your body the controller. The dance game my daughter and I played boosted my heart rate for sure, but I can't imagine it would replace 30 hard minutes on the elliptical (it's still super cool and fun, I might add). Sony PlayStation is also coming out with a Wii-like system.

Video games becoming more active is a good thing, but a workout they're not. Being able to see right on the box how much exercise you're getting would be a great thing.

Do you work out with your Wii?

Image via popculturegeek/Flickr

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