Videogames replacing Gym Class

So this is something that has been on my mind for a while now…every time I see something like Wii fit or other videogame devices it really bothers me. My whole beef with this innovative and often times enabling inventions in the video game realm is that they are facilitating people being lazy. America has certainly caught a bad rap for being the most overweight and to many the laziest nation in the world and apparently the extreme rise in videogame production and complexity plays a role in this.It wasn’t until taking this class that I developed a legitimate beef with the makers of the Nintendo Wii. My qualms stemmed from the fact that nothing can compare to a good ol’ fashion sweat session and the Wii is very insulting to believe that it can do so. It has gotten to the point where instead of going outside and jogging or playing basketball, or doing yoga, all you have to do is plus in your controller and lay on the carpet and simulate these activities. Then the makers of these videogames want to make it seem like they care so much about our youth’s fitness by creating these games when in actuality all they are doing is enabling them to stay lazy and inactive. Nothing can replace actual physical activity, not even physical activity on a television screen. So when these videogame systems try to essentially trick our kids into thinking they are being active when really a child could stand to burn more calories actually walking to the gym before they begin to workout I have a huge problem. Away with the Wii’s and lets all participate in some old school P.E!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joyce Tseng
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 12:38:43

    I don’t think the Wii exercise is all that bad if you compare pressing button to loosing calories by fidgeting. Wii probably isn’t the best for bowling but if these consoles are updated, and more tailored to one sport, instead of the general many, then they could potentially train people in technique (if you think about that pilot training simulation).

    DDR was good for exercise. Dancing for the more creative.

    Reply

  2. caramol
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 15:07:05

    I’m going to have to disagree with you on this. I think that the people that are motivated to go outside and run, play basketball, etc will still be motivated to do these things because they are intrinsically motivated to do them (like you said, there’s no replacing these types of activities). But to say that people who play real basketball will give it up because of the Wii is a little extreme. I think the Wii has just created a different niche for physical fitness… one in which people who are otherwise not physically active, now can be. Wii Fit is their intrinsically motivating exercise for the day. And some exercise is better than none!

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  3. jrubel
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 19:50:42

    Don’t get me wrong I am the biggest proponent in exercise, and even think mandatory gym classes should be instigated here at Michigan. However, I am now in the process of writing my individual paper on video games and obesity and have found pretty interesting facts about a new phenomenon called “exergaming,” or the ability to tie video games and exercise into a single medium for the benefit of making exercise fun (Klein et al., 2008). Dance Dance Revolution and the Nintendo Wii games require players to move their bodies, not just their thumbs, to participant in the game. Players do work up quite a sweat while playing a game they enjoy. Empirical research establishes that such games are one way to get children to exercise and reduce obesity. This forced players to be more active because it required that those playing physically move his/her body while interacting with the game. These games unintentionally provide a simple, unconventional solution to getting off the couch by playing a video game.

    Studies have even shown the health benefits of such games. One study hypothesized that if the benefit of playing the Nintendo Wii is viewed more as entertainment than as exercise, those with low exercise self-efficacy are more willing to exercise if they were playing a video game, and those who are currently more sedentary are more willing to exercise if they were playing a videogame. Results provide support for these hypotheses in that a greater number of individuals perceive the Nintendo Wii as a form of entertainment than as a form of exercise (Klein et al., 2008). Another study looked to evaluate the physiologic cost and liking of playing Wii Sports Boxing in a population of lean and overweight/obese boys and girls relative to a traditional video game and a physical activity (treadmill walking). The results demonstrated that playing Wii Sports Boxing elicited a significantly greater heart rate and VO2 relative to treadmill walking in children. This suggests that the average metabolic equivalent levels associated with playing Wii Sports Boxing is great enough to be considered moderate physically activity in adolescents, children, and adults. Therefore, time spent playing Wii sports Boxing would count towards the 60-minute day of physical activity that is recommended for children (Penko et al., 2010).

    While I think getting outside, playing sports and running around is crucial, I do think that if games such as Wii sports can get children to be more confident with their athletic ability then this is a great outcome of such games.

    Reply

  4. megargil
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 18:11:06

    I agree that game consoles like Wii should not replace other sports and physical activities for youth. But I don’t think that is truly the intention of the video game designer. Nevertheless, no matter where you stand on the issue I think there is an important message to take away from this conversation that is similar to our section on video game violence. That is, we cannot rely on what seems or feels right when discussing the effects of video games. We have to look at research that is reliable and unbiased. I think the best part about this conversation is that people are starting to pay attention to the alarming obesity rates in young children and are thinking about alternatives. Its best if we keep our minds open to alternative forms of activity and then conduct research to test its effectiveness.

    Reply

  5. Taylor Lewan
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 20:48:12

    Reply

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