The Wii Fit and Healthy Skeptism

One of the biggest gifts this year in the arena of 'sports/exercise' is the Wii Fit. It is billed as a game and an exercise space, only better, and it's virtually impossible to find. You can do everything from yoga to table balancing and apparently so many people are into it, a new affliction has been named for it (the Wii Knee:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/3854172/Doctors-fear-a-Wii-knee-epidemic.html).

Here is a clip of Wii Fit in its idealized form:

A less idealized form (video contains possibly triggering attitude towards fat people):

Now, granted, that wasn't the best made video in the world, but it was humorous, and it does point out the fact that there is/are1. a certain amount of paranoia that comes with the weight loss aspect of the game and 2. many opportunities for machines to fuck a person's whole self-esteem up if those machines are given credit for knowing more than a doctor or your own damn self.

I myself hope that I can find a Wii out there somewhere. I love the idea of playing games through physical movement--and I think that things like this are especially awesome for women who want to move but face accessibility issues with getting outside or just aren't ready to "move" in front of other people yet.

But at the same time--if I (or you) manage to actually find one, I will be approaching it with a healthy sense of skepticism. The game appears to center weight loss over fun--and I intend on doing exactly the opposite!

Do you have a Wii Fit? Are you getting one for Christmas? What do you think of the Wii Fit so far? Would you ever buy one? Why or why not?

Comments

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I actually just used the

I actually just used the WiiFit for the first time the other day. First of all, it told me I was obese. While I'm not thin, I'm really not obese. Moderately chubby, perhaps? It also come across as very odd and insulting when the little arrow goes up the underweight to obese scale, your avatar suddenly plumpens, and a high pitched chipmunk voice says "that's obese!" All of it's fitness measurements seem to be based on balance tests. (I wonder if this is a cultural thing? Is there a focus on balance in Japan?) I'm a relatively fit person, I bike and run frequently, but the Wii doesn't seem to think so.

In addition, all of the exercises seemed very low impact. It might be good for people that are just beginning to exercise, but it's too light to do much for anyone that already regularly exercises. I think you'd be better off spending the money on a gym membership, a bike, running shoes, or some workout videos.

Well, except for the push ups. Doing push ups on a Wii is really hard!

skepticism

skepticism

Wii Fit the best thing so far

I really love the Wii Fit, makes people moving which is the main thing. Usually fun and workout doesn't get together but Wii Fit Made that possible!

Good if not perfect...

I just started using my Wii Fit last week. I agree with the above commenter that says that it's not a full workout. For satisfying cardio, I need to go to the gym. However, it gets me moving when I would otherwise be sedentary and I also use muscles that I otherwise do not get to on the weight machines at the gym. It's fun although the way that it scores you is a little odd because it is largely based on your stability.

I'm "obese" according to the Wii Fit but I actually live a very active lifestyle, so it does not measure muscle, water, etc. THe Wii Fit advice does match up with what my doctor is advising me to do, which is interesting. I like it to keep track of my weight as I am trying to lose but you can also bypass the weight feature altogether. I think it really just depends on why you are using it--I'm there for a combination of weight loss and fun; others are just doing it as a game. My other problem with the Wii Fit is calculating your fit age because it really only looks at your balance and this seems very flawed to me. All in all, I think that it is a fun way to be less sedentary but it should be combined with other excercise for maximum effect.

Get a grip!

The second video of the grown man was hysterical! He was all upset because is little Mii didn't drool all over his average body. Yes, his body is average. Body Mass Index is just what it is... an index to get an idea if you are obese or not. Professional football players fall into the grossly obese range on that index.

The point of the Wii is to get kids off the couch and moving and not plooping it to push buttons on a video game.

My kids received 4 games for x-mas and the one that asked to play first thing this morning was the Fit. I think Nintendo did an excellent job with this game.

Lazy Kids? Or Lazy Parents?

What ever happened to taking your kid for a walk? Bike ride? The park?

As an adult, I love video games and can play responsibly. I may play 3 hours across a span of a full week. The average child spends 12+ hours a week on video games, and that was in 2005. I imagine the hours have grown since then.

Most parent's use video game consoles the same way they use Television or computers: As baby sitters. what a cop out out. If one has not time for children, why bother popin' them out?

Wii fit is just another excuse for apathetic, lazy parents to veg' out on the couch. If the kids go out and play, there is a terrible chance they'll have to participate in the fun too. When one's tush is glued to the cushion and the latest reality series is ablaze on the screen; the choice between a child's health and voyeuristic entertainment becomes a sad choice that your own child can not win.

Lazy Kids? Or Lazy Parents?

What ever happened to taking your kid for a walk? Bike ride? The park?

As an adult, I love video games and can play responsibly. I may play 3 hours across a span of a full week. The average child spends 12+ hours a week on video games, and that was in 2005. I imagine the hours have grown since then.

Most parent's use video game consoles the same way they use Television or computers: As baby sitters. what a cop out out. If one has not time for children, why bother popin' them out?

Wii fit is just another excuse for apathetic, lazy parents to veg' out on the couch. If the kids go out and play, there is a terrible chance they'll have to participate in the fun too. When one's tush is glued to the cushion and the latest reality series is ablaze on the screen; the choice between a child's health and voyeuristic entertainment becomes a sad choice that your own child can not win.

In defense of the minority

I am a single, working mother and full time college student. I do not have cable or video games in my house because I much prefer my children to read and listen to music and they get plenty-o-electronic stimulation at their father's house. But man, sometimes I wish I did! When I am in the kitchen trying to prepare a healthy well balanced organic (most likely vegetarian and from scratch) meal and they are running around screaming like banchees, this is when I wish I could have Spongebob babysit my children. Or when I am doing homework or want to SHOWER, for the love of God, the Wii might come in handy.
I understand that a lot of parents need to take the initiative and play monkey-in-the-middle with their children, or go on a bike ride. But I also think that there are some parents out there who do a good job at restricting their child's intake of television and video games. People need to find a happy medium. Everything in moderation.

In Agreement With The Minority

That's one aspect I had not considered, though I see it all the time.

My boss is a single parent; while he'd like to spend as much time as possible with his 6 and 8 year old, making dinner can be a hassle with out the Wii. He's careful as to what video games and shows they're exposed to and balances they're life with team sports and other park activities.

You're right, people have to find a happy medium, through I doubt the majority will.

I have a Wii Fit...

and I like it. i think it's fun. It says you're overweight, obese, etc, by your BMI. So it's really the BMI that isn't that accurate because it fails to take in muscle mass.

anyways, it's fun, and the wii is great, and it's mostly nerdy interactive games that i like, not a lot of blood and guts and beating up hookers for their money *cough*grandtheftauto*cough* so i think it's worth it.

the wii fit is good for getting off of your butt and playing games that involve moving around, and that's what I like.

Wii Fit as Long as I Live - oh, I have one alright!

First off, nice blog and all that small talk junk.

I have to say, since getting the Wii Fit I have gotten way more buff (not like Shia LaBeouf buff, but pretty decent). This is testimony from someone who's had it since it's first US release which was especially hard to find, ss you pointed out about their consistently scant availability. The game changes enough to keep it interesting day after day too. Overall, it's fun meets fitness.

This is a video I just posted today about my own Wii Fit obsession. Thought you might like.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DYN7hP-swo

xo,
Wicked Celtics

It's a joke

Got a Wii Fit for Christmas so I could have a go at some of the snowboarding games etc.
Did the introductory balance and weight etc... and it says I'm obese!

I'm actually an amateur triathlete

Made me laugh though :-)

good quality family time

I just got the wii fit plus for my family along with the wii sports. We tend to play board/card games on a regular basis after dinner but all tend to be a little inactive for the most part. I saw wii as a way for us to continue our game playing as a family but integrate more activity into our lives. You say well why not just go to the park and ride bikes. Well, he's gone from work from 6am till around 6pm. My oldest is in elementary school, leaving the house at 7:30 and getting home about 3:30 half the time and 4:30 the other half. My youngest is dealing with medical issues that keep her and I in the house more often than not and my main activity is cleaning house. Wii fit and wii sports has gotten my family up and moving at least 3 nights a week and gives the little one and I some more activity we can do inside that's fun and engaging. Wii fit hits the mark right on. It's right on with it's BMI (we're all just a tad bit chubby), it's right on with our fitness level and lack of balance and core strength (we tend to be less than athletic) but we're all seeing improvements every time we get on the balance board. Since we don't have a lot of time we certainly don't over indulge in game playing but I see it as a huge plus in our regular day to day and we're all really enjoying it. Here's two thumbs up from an normal family of four to the wii fit.

Most parent's use video game

Most parent's use video game consoles the same way they use Television or computers: As baby sitters. And Wii fit is just another excuse for apathetic, lazy parents to veg' out on the couch. If the kids go out and play, there is a terrible chance they'll have to participate in the fun too.