Will new video games be key to physical fitness?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Walking, jogging, bicycling, weightlifting, swimming, Nintendo.


Those trying to shed a few pounds in time for swimsuit season are likely to add one of the first five activities to their daily regimen, but video games?

Yes, video games.

No, the typical "gamer" isn't someone most of us would look up to when it comes to physical fitness, but that may be changing.

And, that new "gamer" isn't necessarily some adolescent recluse avoiding life by holing up in front of a video screen.

Several news stories over the past few days are spotlighting a trend associated with new video games -- specifically, those played on a Nintendo Wii system, which includes a controller that responds to arm motions.

That opens up all sorts of realistic activities ranging from dancing to bowling to baseball and tennis, in which your whole body is involved, not just the thumbs and fingers that run a traditional controller.

In fact, a story in today's Omaha World-Herald features an Iowa man who has lost 16 pounds by making Wii-based activities like virtual boxing part of his diet and exercise plan.

And, although the gamer, J.R. Cook of Nodaway, Iowa, is a typical gamer's age of 27, older folks are catching the Wii wave as well.

The Cape May County (New Jersey) Herald featured a senior center where, among daily programs like Bunko, Pinochle and Bingo, are listed Nintendo Wii bowling and golf.

In fact, according to an ABC television news story, Nintendo pays close attention to the senior market, which accounts for a significant portion of its market.

So now, instead of the ruination of our youth, is it possible that video games could become a gateway to good health?

Like any exercise tool, video games will only work well as an exercise tool if they are combined with proper diet and a well-rounded exercise regimen that is followed faithfully.

But since video games helped move our society toward lethargy, it is only appropriate that they help bring us back to physical fitness.

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