“Wii Fit” by Nintendo has become a very popular selling game since its release in 2008. The game sounds incredibly promising— getting in shape, losing weight, or rehabilitating merely by playing a video game? It sounds too good to be true, and there are many questions behind it—does it actually work? Who is it made for? What was the thought behind it? Nintendo has created specific workouts such as yoga, aerobics, and even strength exercises. Through movements with the “Wiimote” and by using the “Wii Balance Board,” you are able to exercise while having fun and playing a game. The fun aspect of “Wii Fit” is the most prominent factor in its sales. In most people’s minds, working out and exercising is the last thing they want to do, but because “Wii Fit” is also made to be fun, it gives users that extra motivation they need. Over the next few weeks I will be doing research on “Wii Fit” focusing on the points of who it is intended for, the science and thought behind it, and most importantly, does it really work.
“Interactive virtual reality Wii in geriatric day hospital: A study to assess its feasibility, acceptability and efficacy” is an article from Geriatrics and Gerontology International focusing on using “Wii Fit” to rehabilitate the elderly through different movements and testing its feasibility among elderly people. The study was conducted in a geriatric hospital in Hong Kong, China, and patients were recruited based upon if they met certain criteria such as their ability to follow instructions, their vision, and other aspects that may hinder the study. The exercises consisted of wrist, elbow, and shoulder exercises and acted similarly to the arm ergometer, which is the traditional arm rehab device used in the hospital. To compare the two, they took measurements of the maximal heart rate reserve (%MHR), the Borg perceived exertion scale (BS), and the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). Through testing, they found that there were no substantial differences between the use of “Wii Fit” and the use of the arm ergometer. Thus, this proved that use of “Wii Fit” is certainly feasible and is effective. 83% of patients said that they wished to continue using “Wii Fit” as a means of rehab. This evidence certainly proves the fact that in the case of elderly rehabilitation, “Wii Fit” is definitely practical.
Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” has many questions surrounding it, whether it is its audience, its uses, or its reliability. The most prominent question in my mind is whether or not “Wii Fit” is a viable source of exercise and rehabilitation. Playing videogames as exercise is the definition of a contradiction.