Wii as a Weight-Loss Machine

By Beacon Staff

When Publisher Tom Donnelly bought a Nintendo Wii for his – ahem – children, he and I spent an afternoon breaking it in over several competitive virtual tennis matches. Sweating in his living room, swinging the motion-sensitive controllers wildly, another co-worker filmed the duel to prove how absurd two grow men could look – or, maybe, to frame us one day. Now the company is rolling out Wii Fit, another way to trick gamers into exercising. But this time, it may not work.

Wii Fit will begin arriving in U.S. stores over the next few months. It includes a weight-and-motion sensing device called the Wii Balance Board. According to the Guardian, “Once stepped on, this board calculates a player’s bodymass index based on their weight, height and age. The player then carries out a few basic balance exercises on the board to gauge their rough level of fitness.”

Apparently, 1 million Wii Fits have already sold in Japan. But I’m leery of the device maintaining its early surge. After all, the Hawaii Chair, with the slogan, “If you sit, you can get fit” enjoyed some early popularity before being deemed the worst workout machine ever. Chuck Norris’s Total Gym also appears to be fading in popularity. Norris, understandably, has been too busy stumping for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to plug his product.

Why the original Wii is so effective is because when you use one you forget you’re working out. In fact, when the consoles were first released, gamers – new at exerting so much energy – would throw their controllers through televisions, lamps and windows. The Wii worked because it tricked the sedentary into burning calories. The Fit is being marketed as a fitness machine.

For hardcore gamers, ignorance is bliss. And good trickery is the only way to get many of them off the couch.

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