When Santa brought our family a Wii, my wife and I spent the first hour testing it out by punching each other’s Mii avatars. I broke a sweat, and woke up the next morning with sore shoulders from the experience. We immediately initiated a rule that the Wii could only be played from the standing position in our house.
We aren’t the only parents to conclude that modern videogames are a valid form of physical activity, but now there is scientific proof. Bruce Bailey, a professor of Exercise Science at BYU, found that middle-schoolers who played active videogames — such as Wii Boxing and Playstation’s Dance Dance Revolution — experienced enough exercise to meet recommendations for physical activity.
The research was motivated by the relationship between childhood obesity and sedentary behavior, which includes activities such as watching television, surfing the internet and playing videogames. The potential for active videogames — or exergames — to promote fitness had not been studied. Bailey’s experiment examined the energy expenditure of 39 children of various body types, playing three commercial products and three consumer products. Participants played for 10 minutes and rested for five in between games.