Friday, February 15, 2008

Wii Sports No Substitute for Real Sports

I practice for Wii Tennis by carrying a large boulder under my right arm!

I'm glad the world's scientists are hard at work. From The New York Times:

Children who play sports video games on the Nintendo Wii burn more calories than they would playing regular video games, but not as many than if they played the actual sports, a new study shows.

The research, reported this month in the British Medical Journal, is believed to be the first published study on the calorie-burning effects of the popular Wii gaming console, which was one of the hottest toys this holiday season. Several recent studies have shown that new active video games, such as Dance Dance Revolution and the Sony EyeToy system, encourage more activity than traditional sedentary video games. However, data has been lacking on the new Wii, which has surged in popularity since being introduced in fall 2006.

The Wii is different from sedentary games because it uses a motion-sensitive wireless controller that requires players to simulate swinging a tennis racket or throwing a bowling ball. Dance Dance Revolution requires the player to stand on a pad and copy dance moves, while the EyeToy is controlled as the player moves his or her arms and body.

The latest study, from researchers at Liverpool John Moores University, included six boys and five girls between the ages of 13 and 15. The children were fitted with a calorie-counting monitoring device while they played games on the Xbox 360 and the Wii. The kids burned up to 66 percent more calories playing the Wii than the Xbox, the researchers found. That translates to about 179 calories burned an hour playing Wii tennis compared to 107 calories on the Xbox. At rest, a child expends about 70 calories.

But the most active game, Wii Tennis, fell far short of the calorie-burning effects of the real game. The researchers estimated kids playing real tennis for an hour would burn about 270 calories.

270 calories per hour playing Wii Tennis has still got to beat sitting on the couch watching Spongebob reruns while eating pork rinds. Geez, with our obesity problems in this country? We'll take it.

Next, they're going to tell us that fantasy baseball doesn't burn the same amount of calories as real baseball.

photo: Janene Outlaw/The New York Times