Wii Fit “Doesn’t Make You Fit”

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Medical research appears to have confirmed that Wii Fit and other “sports” games offering apparent physical exertion actually have no positive effect on fitness at all.

The study, conducted by an associate professor of health and exercise science at the University of Mississippi, took the form of a comparative case study of eight American families, whose physical fitness was recorded for 6 months each, with each family given 3 months of Wii Fit usage and 3 months of non-usage.

The research concluded that the game “produced no significant changes in daily physical activity, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance or body composition,” although it did find a “significant increase in aerobic fitness” in the children studied.

Since usage of the routine dropped off rapidly, from 22 minutes daily initially to 4 minutes after 6 weeks, the research generously concludes that “modest amounts of daily Wii Fit use may have provided insufficient stimulus for fitness changes.”

A less circumspect appraisal might be that the families had no real interest in getting fit in the first place, else they would already be exercising properly, although since this likely describes most Wii Fit users the research conclusions are probably valid all the same.

Considering its success in getting “brain training” games endorsed by medical specialists, Nintendo might want to commission some favourable research in this area too…

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  • i got running shoes – ran 20 minutes – next day walked 4 minutes – very slow – stopped to smell flowers – they were hanging so i didn’t have to bend to smell them – after months of strolling for 4 minutes a day – i don’t get it – lost no weight and don’t feel in great shape

  • Wii Fit?! Phooey! If I wanna mix video games and fitness, I’d
    1) whip out my dance mat,
    2) fire-up my DDR,
    3) dial it up to the most “Insane” track with “Insane” difficulty,
    4) jack the volume up,
    5) [url=http://chan.sankakucomplex.com/post/show/255754]pound on the mat like apesh*t till either I burn enough calories to achieve the highest rating or I can’t feel my legs anymore[/url],
    6) ???
    7) pro-[b]FIT[/b]! HAHAHA! Get it? Pro-[i]FIT[/i]! Haha… ha… Yeah, that was lame.

    The ol’ dance mat may be dated, but heck, it does its job, plus it sure beats the stress outta you. Oh yeah~!

  • O_o, OMFG, they can’t be serious about this research… 3 month with wii sport, and 3 month without, and in the end the test subject only do 4 MINUTES PER DAYS…. WTF, it’s saying “sport are no good for weigh lost, I do research for 6 month, 3 month with sport, and 3 other month my ass in the couch watchin NCIS, HOUSE etc, I GAIN WEIGH SO SPORT DO NO MAKE WEIGHLOSS”…., seriously, sometime people like this need to think twice before do something… like the french government who did buy a FUCKIN LOT of flu vaccin for the H1N1, and afterward they think “omg what do we do now with all this vaccine… well, we’ll says to people that they really need to got flu shot”…

    This is totaly ridiculous. But maybe they do their job seriously, and really think this research is accurate.

  • Luckily for me, I have actually lost weight this holiday season. I know that is pretty sad because Mexico is a developing country, and yet she has a high obesity rate. If people really want to lose weight/and/or get in shape, they need to find something they like doing and not get into something easy or simulated. That being said the most important rule, at least for me, is commitment. Without commitment there will be no results, or those results will not last. Cheers.

  • From TFA : “Owens’s study, which he has submitted to a refereed professional journal, found that children did display significant increases in aerobic fitness after three months with the Wii Fit. However, three months of home Wii Fit use produced no significant changes in daily physical activity, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance or body composition for families as a whole.”

  • If the time the families spent with the “game” has decreased through the weeks then we can’t really say it doesn’t work, can we? I mean, even a regular exercising apparatus won’t have much effect if the user stops exercising a few weeks into the program.
    I think that in order to say whether or not it worked they’d have to make the families spend the same amount of time with the game every week\day\whenever the game tells you to and not allowing them to quit whenever they wanted…

  • This teacher just wanted to draw attention and most of you fell, of course not only this game helps if not most of these, as if to make changes with only 5 minutes in a gym, most of the negative comments is people who do not have that console or they do not like, in order to continue giving attention to sheep who does not deserve this kind of thing

    • nope not correct,
      I own AND like my Wii and a host of games AND WiiFit, the study was conducted by a jackass.

      Let me give you an example,

      2 people were asked in a shopping mall do you like coffee?

      1 said no
      1 said yes

      Does that mean that 50% of people don’t like coffee???

      The answer of course is more complex, like the study should have been, of the 2 people asked was one drinking coffee? were they approximately the same age, same sex, rich, poor? I think you get my reasoning here.

      Also was the study introduced as one to compare the impact of fitness on users and non users of video games consoles, this leads to biased responses in the test subjects.

      This might as well have been a study on the affects of paracetemol in combatting headaches, run by a company that makes asprin, and yup you could guess the results of that one….

      Sack that associate professor, he is a crock…

      • accurate, both reviews are very accurate and I can say I’ve fallen more than 8 kilograms playing, this study is garbage, like the person who drove them and they are right just want to draw attention, if that study would have done sony or microsoft of course they would say otherwise.

  • Right OK, lets asses the facts.

    The study = 8 families, hardly a cross section of the public now is it? Are they all comparative weight, height, from diverse ethnic backgrounds, religions, do they have the same social activites and eat the same foods, are they gamers etc?

    It might sound mad that last statement, but as we know peeps aint the same the world over, so I don’t really think you can put too much credence into the study as it seems it has not taken into account a host of variables that any “true” study needs, no matter if it is done by a University professor [who should know how to conduct surveys correctly I might add, or at least have the intelligence to find out how!]

    It is common sense that WiiFit doesn’t make you fit, or even increase your regular physical exercise, it is a GAME thats all.

    Personally I would rather pay £60 for WiiFit and board, and find out I don’t like it rather than try a gym membership for £45 a month for a 12 months contract, plus I can Ebay the WiiFit…!

    • Did you read the article? They say it increased aerobic fitness in children. They also say that since people stopped using it effectively (4 min) it might not improve fitness.

      This was a failed experiment.

  • Just to recap…. 20 minutes a day down to four minutes a day in a three month period, with three months of inactivity (they don’t specify whether the three months of inactivity comes before or after the “exercise”). Right… I’d really expect to see a difference there.

    First, 20 minutes isn’t long enough to begin with. Minimum recommended time spent at aerobic exercise is 30 minutes. But, if you’re fat, it takes even longer for your body to enter the state where fat cells are burned. So, there’s a bust. Second, just like any piece of equipment, a Wii Fit will only work as hard for you as you work for it. If I went and spent $200 on a stationary bike and rode it for one commercial break a day, I would not make any progress. Or if I bought a membership to the local gym, then never went.

    Wii Fit does have beneficial possibilities. If you actually do the push-ups, plank exercises, etc. you will gain core tone. If you actually put a bit of effort into the silly little jogging or cycling ‘games’, not just shift your weight from foot to foot but actually lift your knees and break a sweat, then you can potentially elevate your heart rate to the calorie burning zone at least, though you certainly won’t get marathon ready simply by jogging in place in front of the TV.

    What it boils down to is individual motivation and intention. You can’t blame Nintendo for fat lazy bastards not wanting to get off their ass and play. Personally, it’s been a great solution for me. I work rotating shifts, which makes attending classes at a gym impossible. And, if I do drag my sorry butt out there in the middle of the night, I might spend 20 minutes on the treadmill or eliptical, then get bored and go home. With the Wii, I can stay at home, in my PJ’s, butt naked, or wearing a pink tu tu for all the game knows. I can be mildly entertained, still break a sweat, and feel like I’m accomplishing something without having to feel embarrassed about my jiggly butt or boobs in front of the lovely lean guys at the gym. Combine this with an altered diet (i.e. no more sodas, no more chips, no more late night cookie binges in front of the computer), and I’ve lost almost 20 lbs.

    The Wii is just a tool, how you use it is what determines how it works.

  • As others before me have noted, some of the people in the study went from exercising 22 min. a day to 4 min. a day. If you don’t keep a consistent, regular exercise routine how can you expect any results? If the kids got some improvement in aerobic fitness (I think that’s code for stamina), I’m certain the adults could’ve done as well if they kept up the pace. Though it’s also possible that 6 mos. was too short a time. And maybe some of the wii fit accessories should be weighted to provide some modest weight training.

  • If you only do small amounts of exercise each day then YEA YOU AREN’T GOING TO GET ANYTHING OUT OF IT. No fucking shit. Christ. If you actually do more, like say, 45 minutes a day, then yes, you will get a change. Also, I wish to point out that this test does not show what the people were doing during it. For all we know they were playing snowboarding, and skiing the whole time. GJ test that doesn’t prove fucking shit.

  • The subjects involved in the study clearly has no interest in becoming fit at all. It’s no surprise their fitness level have not improved. You could put a gym set right in their living room and get the same results!

    They should have 3 groups who are interested in getting fit: one group exercising regularly (say, for half an hour daily swimming, or running, or other cardio exercises), one group playing Wii fit regularly (again, half an hour daily) and the last group doing nothing.

    Then measure their fitness levels to see if playing Wii fit will have any effect on fitness levels.

  • I own wii fit. For those who have never played it, there are 4 categories within the game. Aerobics, Balance, Strength, and Yoga. If all you do is play the balance games; the part of wii fit that closest resembles an actual video game; then no, you will not see results and will not be getting a workout. However the strength and aerobics parts are very helpful, since there is slightly more motivation when you have an interactive game giving you a time limit and letting you know if you’re doing it right or not than trying to follow a dvd showing some body builder telling you the same thing whether you’re doing it right or gasping for air, while he does 1000 pushups in 5 minutes effortlessly.

    My only complaints with wii fit (no I don’t have plus yet so I don’t know how much better it is), is that it gauges your health in BMI/weight only which doesn’t reflect muscle vs fat etc. The last thing I want is a game yelling at me because I “gained” 2lbs in 2 weeks. Also there’s no way for it to make you a schedule on its own that will help you achieve any actual goal. Because of this it takes a lot of self discipline and commitment just like any other home exercise program

    I think it’s pretty funny that while there are plenty of good reviews explaining how the wii fit works (or doesn’t for some), this professor, who by trade should be somewhat intelligent, still overlooked any research that would easily sway his results. To me this seems like the work of someone who does not like video games or the Wii Fit itself. It’s ignorance and so is taking any of this for fact without trying the product or reading about the pros and cons of it from people who own and use it, some of whom have seen results.

    • Good post. To me, it seems flawed from the start that this “researcher” only had eight families. You simply can’t make a valid result from so few subjects.

      It should be tested in a controlled enviroment, with one control group using it properly as an excercize tool, and another control group casually using it as a video game.

      • ChaosAngelZero says:

        Notice that the first usage method almost never, ever occurs in real life, the vast majority of Wii Fit consumers are the infomercial crowd, those who expect miraculous results from 5 to 10-minute “workouts”.

        • You forget the HUGE old people crowd who are too afraid to go out to keep fit, but feel comfortable doing proper basic exercise with the WiiFit, or the types who really care about being fit but have no access to a trainer, or the money to afford one, and feel the little bit of help is good. These are probably less than 20% of sales, but it is proof it happens.

  • While this “research” is pretty bogus, I’m still an advocate about Wii Fit not being a substitute for proper exercise. While it’s good in a way that makes people who probably usually aren’t active, active….you still have to factor in nutrition which is the biggest part. 22 minutes? That’s barely enough time to get your heart rate up. I’m not saying Wii Fit won’t have some type of effect on people who really push through it though. Back in the day when I played DDR every day, I managed to maintain my weight pretty well even though I ate nothing but garbage back then.

    • Not all hardcore gamers are fat some are very skinny as well. Like me when I game I only get like 1 heavy meal or 4 light snacks. Getting fat takes years to build up, its comes from poor choices as a kid. When I was younger I played video games to death but when I gone outside I be out there for 10 hours or so. So I was always had decent build.

  • Now, say that to all those soccer mums who bough the fad to their kids….or spread thsi around for all the public…two possibilities:

    Sales go down ultra hard, proving Wii is just an attempt at reaching the exercise fad marked (wich it is blatanlty so IMO…)
    Or nothing happens…..proving that there are some wanna be gamers there for real….looks into the actual GAMES number sales….er….not likely….

  • I find it hard to believe that a (proper) fixed daily routine with this tool doesn’t have any sort of influence. You’d almost think this report was made to serve as some sort of excuse so the lazy who “don’t have the facilities near them to exercise:(” can keep on playing the victim card about their butt taking up two seats in the bus or plane. Almost.

    • Probably cause Wii Fit wasn’t entertaining enough to keep them motivated about exercising.

      The whole point of Wii Fit was to supposedly make exercising “fun” which it apparently failed to do with its repetitive mini-games. Might as well just go outside and run for half an hour.

      • The point of WiiFit was to facilitate exercise in Japan were there aren’t many places to exercise, not to make it fun. Also to give you basic advice about exercising and weight-loss, along with balance and BMI checks quickly and easily so you can record your progress much more easily than at a gym. It was not designed to make it fun, simply to facilitate exercise to people who did not have the facilities nearby, or who could not afford regular gym payments.

        • But again it is not a fitness program, but a tool to help people with a fitness program. It does not even sell itself as a fitness program, but sells itself as a tool. A fitness program is no different from a life plan (daily, weekly etc. you should of course cater it to your lifestyle) plan, and nowhere in the WiiFit advertisements does it say that it will plan your week for you. WiiFit has never pretended to be a miracle cure for people who don’t exercise, simply a tool like any other. People do not judge a hammer if the families using it are unable to build a house.

        • I have to disagree with you there Atrefact.

          It does have some motivational properties. The whole game aspect of it make it more fun to exercise in some people’s minds.
          I have family who needed to lose some weight and such, but couldnt stick with their routines. But the whole getting a high score thing seemed to keep them at it.

          So it would be more correct to say it did not motivate the people in the study, who are far from representing the rest of the population.

          You cannot deny the fact that people have reaped considerable benefits from Wii Fit, even if those 6 lazy families did not.

        • No, the point of Wii Fit was to sell games and consoles to a market segment who would not normally buy games or game consoles.

          It succeeded. But it demonstrably does not motivate people to take up a serious exercise regime, which is the point the research is really making.

  • They went from 22 mins to 4 mins… Correct me if I’m wrong isn’t it encouraged to do at least 30 mins a day for regular exercise? And regular exercise doesn’t include losing weight, rather maintaining current weight instead of gaining more.

    It’s true what they say, you only get out what you put in, it’s irritating when these people believe there is some sort of quick fix.

    This isn’t a study at all.

    • That did seem like a rather huge hole in their assumption. The title of the study needs to be changed to, “Having Wii Fit in your general vicinity will not make you lose weight”

      4 minutes is barely enough time to turn the system on and do a body-fat check. You’d think this “research” would be more willing to admit that they completely failed at their intended goal because their test subjects stopped doing what needs to be tested.

      Could you imagine what drug trials would be like if they drew conclusions from subjects who only took a drug once a week when they were needed to take it every day?

  • Owning WiiFit doesn’t make you fit?!?!?! OMG, I am shocked! So you actually have to play it just like normal exercise!!! I’m astonished!

    But seriously this report is ridiculous, WiiFit is a tool, if someone doesn’t use the tool properly does not mean that the tool is bad. God-Damnit modern society, take responsibility for your own actions, or lack there of!

  • Eight sugjects does not a case study make!

    That’s ridiculous.

    If you play it as a game, then it’s nothing more than a game. If you use it as a form of excercise, and get your heartrate up, the it can be, but you have to actally work at it.

    Likewise, you can play DDR as excercise, if you wear arm weights, and intentionally move your entire body.

    • WiiFit in the end is a game, and from what I’ve been able to surmise it requires no activity that could be rigorous for weight loss or even maintaining weight.

      That being said, I do imagine that 20-30 minutes of day of regular use could help improve joint and bone strength, because you are getting up and dancing around.

      But even then it’s merely taking the place of a daily walk.

      • So spot jogging, which in terms of weight loss is better than moving jogging is not rigorous enough to help weight loss… I think people who jog would tell you otherwise. Admitedly the ‘distances’ are fairly short (the longest route I know being only around 7 minutes at a good pace), but WiiFit is designed for people who have busy lives and need basic exercise rather than rigorous weight loss schedules.

  • BS! A friend of mine lost 15 pounds in one month thanks to Wii fit’s aerobic routine. She mainly needed the encouragement from it to always come back and track progress and keep up. The problem with exercise is it’s boring and no fun but if you have a coach as this is, you are more apt to stick to it which is what causes real weight loss.

    • See, this is what the study doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on — their study group worked out for a whopping four minutes.

      I’m no Nintendo fanboy — I didn’t even OWN a Wii till the beginning of December — but I thought Wii Fit seemed like a good idea since it tries to motivate you to work out and reminds you of your progress, or lack thereof.

      +1, Tingle

    • Well… Some of these ‘medical researches’ have shown that iirc overweight people who exercises regularly with relatively high intensity for a few months were no better off than the control group.

      So it’s pretty obvious that if you’re not careful with how you measure things, you’re going to end up with results that don’t reflect reality.

  • I CBA to read the report, but seriously – of course Wii Fit makes you fit, if you’re enthusiastic about it. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that prolonged physical activities, compared to none at all, give positive effects. Maybe not huge ones, but still.

    • Hey, I’ve got a staircase in my house. OF COURSE it can make me fit, if I’m ENTHUSIASTIC about it. Best of all using it doesn’t set me back a few hundred bucks. Do retarded Wii fanboys like you even think about what they say before they launch into defense of Nintendo’s bullshit?

      • Hah, wow, nice miss by a couple of hundred miles ^^
        I’m most certainly not a Nintendo fanboy. I own a Wii, as a game dev I like to keep myself updated as much as I can, but have hardly even touched it since I bought it, and I would never purchase a Wii fit board as I find all the accessories just a waste of money (Wii is, btw, the most expensive console on the market if you consider buying a full set of controllers to any of the consoles).
        That being said – yes, of course your staircase can make you fit. That’s just a variant of my point – but I’d guess that using a Wii would be a bit more interesting than climbing the stairs over and over.
        Personally, I hope for the day when I hear YourselfFitness coming to Xbox Arcade or similar.

        • are you joking? you just confirmed the other Anon point…

          any kind of physical activity can make you fit if you are enthusiastic about it, that doesn’t make every particular accessory (aka Wii) a fitness one…

          to actually make you fit you needed a completely different set of tools and accessories that are actually designed to your body…

          i have to get up and walk to the bathroom, is that a recommended fitness exercise?

    • The article said it does work in children.

      Also

      Since usage of the routine dropped off rapidly, from 22 minutes daily initially to 4 minutes after 6 weeks, the research generously concludes that “modest amounts of daily Wii Fit use may have provided insufficient stimulus for fitness changes.

      Translation, since people quit using it we can come to no conclusion.

      It’s like saying riding a bike does not increase your fitness because people stop doing it.

      Like any form of exercise it works only if you keep at it.

      • To add to this, whenever you start Wii fit, you get to do a basic check before you start doing shit. Simply put, it tells you your current weight and you perform two or three balance exercises.

        In other words, if you only play for 4 minutes a day, you quit before actually starting. They only did the damned check-ups, not the actual fitness exercises. It’s like only watching a movie’s prologue and saying it sucks because the story never gets good.

      • I used the wii fit regularly for about 3 months and along with stretching (cause none of the fitness games tell you to stretch before working out) and cutting back on some junk food I felt like I had some steady improvement.

        But then I was taking it seriously and only wanted to lose maybe 10 lbs and feel more active. I really did have more energy. And being able to continually get feedback from the wii helped keep me going. I stopped cause I moved and left the wii behind, at home.

        Though I’ll agree, if you want to make a big change you have to adjust your lifestyle and do some serious working out.