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Wii Can't Replace Actual Exercise 148

Posted by Zonk
from the deeply-shocking dept.
Next Generation notes the results of a study into the health benefits of playing the Nintendo Wii. According to the University of Liverpool research, Wii Tennis can't compare with the real thing. "The result showed that the youths burned 60 calories (in nutrition terms) more an hour playing Wii, a 2% increase in the amount of energy burned versus the Xbox 360 players. The study is quoted as saying that 'these increases were of insufficient intensity to contribute towards recommendations for children's daily exercise,' and that active gaming using the Wii is no replacement for actual sports."
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Wii Can't Replace Actual Exercise

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  • by Gorm the DBA (581373) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:02PM (#21822032) Journal
    2% is better than nothing. Also...which games did they test? Nintendo is coming out with a fitness oriented game soon, I've been told...

    No, it's not a replacement for real exercise, but as a replacement for sitting on your butt, eating cheetos, and pushing buttons, it's an improvement.

    • 2% is better than nothing. Also...which games did they test?
      Definitely not Dance Dance Wii [wikipedia.org].
      • Probably not Wii Boxing with the gain turned all the way down either.
        • Re:Not DDW (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Retric (704075) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @02:18PM (#21822730)
          FYI: 2% still a big deal over time.

          60 calories * 2 hours * 5 days a week * 48 weeks a year = 28800 calories.
          28800 calories / (3000 calories / lb) = 9.6 pounds per year.

          Note: Actual weight loss would be less as body fat does burn some calories over time.
          • by Joe Snipe (224958)
            3000 calories per pound? I wish I could find food like that, it would easily cut my eating time in half!
            • by darthflo (1095225)
              Try pure fat. 9 kcal per gram equals some 4 Mcal per pound. Alcohol (3.2 Mcal/lb) would work, too.
          • by drsquare (530038)
            It doesn't work like that, 120 calories a day is nothing. Eating an apple pretty much cancels that out.

            And it's 3500 calories per pound, so you'd only lose 8 pounds in a year. Of course this is assuming you don't do something wreckless like drink a glass of milk or eat a slice of bread which completely cancels out your day's 'exercise'.
            • by Retric (704075)
              I have seen 3000 and 3500 used but I don't know which is more accurate. I know there is a gap between gaining 1 lb vs. dropping 1 pound due to inefficiencies in the human body. Anyway, the reason why 120 calories a day seems like nothing is it takes around 15 calories per pound to maintain that lb each day so over time you will drop 4lb and stay that way. (Ignoring changes in muscle mass.)

              This is why diets seem to fail over time. If you cut back 300 calories per day you will drop 5 lb quickly but you need
              • by Retric (704075)
                Not that I expect anyone to read this, but I don't mean you would only drop 4lb but the first four drop a lot faster than the next 3 if everything else is maintained.

                For weight loss at a constant rate you need to eat less food each day until your at an equilibrium point for your goal weight and activity level.
        • by ceoyoyo (59147)
          My first introduction to the Wii was playing boxing almost all the way through, straight. I do a respectable 10 km run a couple of times a week and I was drenched in sweat and exhausted, but I couldn't stop until I'd paid back that chick for pounding me into the ring.
          • A lot of fatigue from unfamiliar exercise comes because your body isn't used to the motions. I bet if you did the same game for a few days, it wouldn't tire you nearly as much.

            A perfectly fit jogger who doesn't jump rope will get tired quickly by jumping rope. Someone who jumps rope frequently but doesn't swim will get tired quickly by swimming. Someone who swims a lot but does not bike will tire quickly while biking. Etc... etc... A lot of the fitness you get is skill adaption to the motions involved
            • by ceoyoyo (59147)
              To a certain extent, sure. But there's definitely some aerobic activity going on. You don't get out of breath playing XBox, habituated or not.
    • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:30PM (#21822288)
      That fitness game is actually a peripheral that allows for all kinds of balance/weight related games. It's called the WiiFit (more info/videos at http://www.wiifit.org/ [wiifit.org] and no I'm not involved with that site in any way).

      It should be available in the US on January 1st. (Good luck finding one, though. I'm guessing it'll quickly sell out and then become almost as hard to find as a Wii console.)

      Apparently, the fitness game itself isn't that strenuous, but some of the other games (running a race, moving a marble across a platform to a hole, skiing, dancing, etc) are. Also, I've heard that other games developers are looking into how to use this. Tony Hawk has been quoted as being interested in using it for one of his skateboarding games. (I'm not a fan of those games, but I can see how it could be applied there.)
      • by grumbel (592662)
        ### Tony Hawk has been quoted as being interested in using it for one of his skateboarding games.

        That sounds like a twisted ankle waiting to happen. Unlike a dance mat the balance board isn't flat, but actually quite high and also quite small, so you really don't want to jump around on that thing or you might very easily misstep. I am also not quite sure if it would be robust enough for that kind of use. From the looks and the name of it, it seems to be designed for exactly one thing: detect balance. None o
        • by LKM (227954)
          There's a Ski Jump game for the board out already. The thing would certainly work with THPS, although you would not want people actually jumping around; you'd have to do ollies using sudden weight shifts, or maybe using the actual button on the remote.
        • by ArwynH (883499)

          I have WiiFit. It stipulates that you are not supposed to jump on the board, however it does simulate jumps in a number of the mini-games by crouch and stand up in rapid succession. In fact there is a mini-game included that resembles a very basic Tony Hawks game, so I'd say the possibility is definitely there.

          Wii Fit is quite fun to play, even if you are not interested in keeping fit. There are 2 types of games, balance and exercise as well as a bunch of training programs and a way to view the statistics

      • by G Fab (1142219)
        wiifit is a great initiative. If the wii's demographic is truly different than traditional games, this thing could be very successful.

        I use a playstation 2 game, Yourself Fitness, (that is also out on Xbox 1.0 and PC), and I've had great success. It accommodates weights, yoga ball, step, pulse monitor, basically crap I had in my closet, and varies the exercise and keeps track of progress. Instead of standing over a scale, it tracks how many push-ups I can do. But I have lost 30 pounds in about a year, a
    • by Sciros (986030) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:49PM (#21822466) Journal
      A 2% increase over playing the 360 is better than nothing? Yeah the way having 2 pennies in your pocket is better than being flat broke. A far cry from it? Please.

      Using the Wii to get exercise is one thing. It requires playing particular games in a particular fashion; not something I wager the test subjects did in this study. But playing it in such a fashion that you burn 2% more calories than playing the 360 is *not* exercise. You can probably do better if you play any game while tapping your feet to the in-game music. To defend the Wii in this case and say that 2% is better than 0% is just silly.
      • by Sierpinski (266120) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @02:04PM (#21822592)
        A 2% increase over playing the 360 is better than nothing? Yeah the way having 2 pennies in your pocket is better than being flat broke. A far cry from it? Please.

        Using the Wii to get exercise is one thing. It requires playing particular games in a particular fashion; not something I wager the test subjects did in this study. But playing it in such a fashion that you burn 2% more calories than playing the 360 is *not* exercise. You can probably do better if you play any game while tapping your feet to the in-game music. To defend the Wii in this case and say that 2% is better than 0% is just silly.


        I don't think anyone ever said that the Wii is suppose to replace any type of exercise regimen. The whole point though, is that if it gets kids off the couch and moving around, that's better than sitting on the couch. I don't think any of the Nintendo people ever advertised 'Hey you don't have to do your normal exercise routine, just buy a Wii'. Getting up and moving around burns more calories than sitting, it's a fact. Is it enough to burn all your necessary "workout" calories? No of course not.

        There is another factor involved that most people don't think about, and that is the stretching part of it. I can't count the number of times I've had sore muscles in the morning, basically from lack of use for the last 6-8 hours. If I have a particularly busy day at work, I can spend close to 12 hours sitting down (with hopefully a few breaks in between) and my muscles hurt then too. Getting kids to get up and move around helps stretch their muscles, not to mention just the simple part of playing a game that requires more movement of your body than just your hands stimulates more of the mind. Does it replace thinking? No of course not, but it's "better than nothing".

        People (probably) don't buy a Wii for exercise, they buy it because it's fun for them. If they get 2% more exercise in a day (which IS better than nothing... only Sith deal in absolutes!) then that's 2% less they have to get the rest of the day to meet whatever quota you've made up for them.

        Just because some study says that playing a Wii doesn't replace exercise doesn't mean that Nintendo was actually saying that it did. Sounds like someone wanted something original to write a thesis about.
        • by Sciros (986030)
          Okay, really, am I the only one who understood what the "2%" in the study referred to? It wasn't 2% of some nebulous daily exercise regimen. It was 2% of the calories burned playing 360 for an hour. If playing the 360 burned 100% of the calories burned while playing 360, then playing the Wii burned 102%. That's what it means. So, to say "2% is better than 0%" in this case is VERY STUPID. If 2% of the calories burned playing 360 for an hour is enough to IN ANY WAY adjust an exercise regimen, then that exerci
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Endo13 (1000782)
            You're absolutely correct. And the article is correct, due to the fact that their small 2% increase was because they were basically playing the Wii like you'd play any video game on any console. The only difference was, instead of pressing a button they flick their wrist. Of course you're not going to get much additional exercise from that. But if you play the Wii like it was *meant* to be played, you're going to get a whole hell of a lot more than a 2% increase. Probably closer to a 20,000% increase. It's
            • by xtieburn (906792)
              Um, where is this written exactly?

              At no point in any of the articles is it said people just flicked their wrist or played the Wii in any specific way. Indeed the one quote about it suggested the players 'were on their feet and they moved in all directions.'.

              Unless you can provide some kind of evidence that those being studied were just flicking their wrists ill have to assume you are a bit of a fanboy and just making this up.
        • by xtieburn (906792)
          'I don't think anyone ever said that the Wii is suppose to replace any type of exercise regimen.'

          Ill stop you and the mods who claim this to be insightful right there.
          You dont think the article with the header 'Study Says Wii Can't Replace Workout' is about anyone saying it can replace a workout...

          Even if the article was refering to 2% of your exercise regime (which others have pointed out it is not.) the slashdot summary, the heading, the whole article is about it replacing exercise.
          That is not a good thin
      • by bwalling (195998)
        Read the article. It's a 2% increase in your total energy expenditure for a WEEK! Not 2% more energy used during the time spent playing games.
        • by Sciros (986030)
          Article wasn't coming up; I went by the summary. Anyway, a 2% increase in expenditure for a week is still pretty miserable and to say it's "better than nothing" is pretty sarcastic.
          • No its not. Given that you burn roughly 2k cal per day just sitting there, and a non-athlete would rarely ever excersize beyond an additional 200 cal per day (10% increase) getting 1/5 of that from just playing a video game is rather large.
      • A 2% increase over playing the 360 is better than nothing? Yeah the way having 2 pennies in your pocket is better than being flat broke. A far cry from it? Please.

        Having 100% of you hypothetical sum isn't much better than being broke either.
        • by Sciros (986030)
          Hahah, true enough, but that's because my hypothetical sum in this case would be akin to 100% of the exercise you get from playing the Xbox 360. :-)
    • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman @ g m a i l . c om> on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @02:08PM (#21822638) Homepage Journal

      2% is better than nothing.
      It's also wrong. The summary says:

      a 2% increase in the amount of energy burned versus the Xbox 360 players
      But the actual STUDY [bmj.com] says:

      Predicted energy expenditure was at least 51% greater during active gaming than during sedentary gaming. This equates to an increase in energy expenditure of 250 kJ (60 kcal) an hour during active gaming compared with sedentary gaming. In a typical week of computer play for these participants, active gaming rather than passive gaming would increase total energy expenditure by less than 2%; although this figure is trivial it might contribute to weight management.
      The emphasis is mine. Taken as a whole, here's what the study says:

      1. You burn 51% more energy playing the Wii over the XBox 360.

      2. If you always played the Wii rather than the 360, you'd increase your caloric burn for a given WEEK by 2%.

      The study also says:

      [T]he monitor does not detect arm movements well. Energy expenditure may therefore have been underestimated during active gaming, which involves arm movements.


      The conclusion?

      Activity promoting new generation active computer games significantly increased participants' energy expenditure compared with sedentary games


      Now please mod this story -1 WRONG. Thank you, have a nice day. :-)
      • The IDEEA system comprises a small recorder worn at the waist and five sensors attached to three thin and flexible wires that connect to the recorder. Sensors are attached to the centre of the subject's chest (about 4 cm below the clavicle), the front of each thigh, and the underside of each foot on the outside arch, using porous hypoallergic medical tape. Sensors measure the acceleration and angle of each body segment.

        I must say, this seems a bit stupid. If you guesstimate how much someone moves like this (or by counting steps or whatever) you will sometimes get strange results, especially with so few participants. Without going into the finer points of biology, let me just say what they should have done:

        They should have measured the amount of CO2 produced by the participants. Sure, this means they can't do this study at home and it will cost a lot more to do. But on the plus side, it will be actual, meaningful science

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ePhil_One (634771)
          They should have measured the amount of CO2 produced by the participants. Sure, this means they can't do this study at home and it will cost a lot more to do. But on the plus side, it will be actual, meaningful science that is really undisputable.

          Heck, simply monitoring their heart rate would have given better results, which would be simply done via an off-the-shelf Pulsar Heart Rate Monitor/watch.

      • by hurfy (735314)
        "2. If you always played the Wii rather than the 360, you'd increase your caloric burn for a given WEEK by 2%."

        Based on how much gaming? If it was using the 15 min a day like they tested that seems ok for under a couple hours of indoor play. Like others said it beats nothing or worse like sitting and eating in front of TV.

        I wonder how my steering wheel and pedals do for my 20 hrs of racing a week ;) Luckily, I've gained closer to .2 lbs/yr than 2 lbs :) Kinda sad to see a younger friend gain closer 10/yr th
      • 3000 Calories an hour (60/0.02) seemed a bit high.
    • by pla (258480)
      No, it's not a replacement for real exercise, but as a replacement for sitting on your butt, eating cheetos, and pushing buttons, it's an improvement.

      I think you've hit on the real advantage to the Wii's more active style of game control - Sitting and eating.

      Sure, in a controlled environment, with a non-exercise-oriented game, you may only burn 60 calories more (as an aside, merely standing vs sitting burns an extra 40 calories per hour). But in a normal living-room environment with cheetos regularly
    • by hedwards (940851)
      That's exactly right. Even something as trivial as sitting on the floor while watching TV or taking a nap burns more calories than just watching TV. I'd suggest that there's a similar situation for videogames as well.

      The average weight gain of around 2lbs., per year as people have aged is equivalent to less than 100 extra calories a day. It really doesn't take that much of a change to stop that kind of expansive situation.

      But that aside, the whole point of the study was to get funding, anybody with half a b
  • Of course arm movement alone is not the same a full body movement. But I would prefer that the kids at least get some exercise. I wonder if it would have been different if they had tested the boxing game as it is much more physically involved.
    • by spirality (188417)
      The boxing game would have probably been more exercise than the tennis game. Nonetheless I have both boxed and played the Wii boxing game. To make any sort of comparison at all is almost laughable.

      I've played a variety of sports and fighting is one of the most intense things you can put yourself through. A round boxing/kick boxing feels like the longest two minutes of your life.

      Let's take four activities and rank them by level of intensity from lowest to highest:
      1. Wii boxing (minimal force exerted into pun
    • Of course arm movement alone is not the same a full body movement. But I would prefer that the kids at least get some exercise. I wonder if it would have been different if they had tested the boxing game as it is much more physically involved.

      Problem is, 60 calories is nothing, insofar as (serious) physical activity is concerned. SO, instead of letting the kid play with his 360 for an hour, and then kick him outside to run and jump and cavort around in general for another hour, you let the kid stay inside the two whole hours playing with his wii (no pun intended), because "it's better than nothing". When, in fact, it was barely more than nothing. The problem, of course, is not with the wii itself. It's the mentality.

      .

  • Unclear article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChowRiit (939581) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:03PM (#21822040)
    The article makes no mention of what games they used on the Wii to test this. My experience is that some games are far more active than others - playing Wario Ware normally leaves me quite worn out after a while, but playing Super Mario Galaxy requires almost no movement. Without knowing what they used for the experiment, its results are meaningless...
    • by Fez (468752) *
      My experience is the same, Re: Super Mario Galaxy. That doesn't require much movement, just wrist twitching for the spin attack. There is the occasional control scheme switch but nothing major, like the sequences where you jump on top of the ball and tilt the controller.

      They should have used a game like Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Even if it is just an arm workout, it still wears me out.

      I must be really out of shape. :P
    • They also used young teenagers to test it as well. They compare against a kid playing a PS2 game vs a kid playing Wii Sports for 15 minutes. I believe their test pool was five or so kids as well.

      The study basically doesn't prove anything because you would need more than 15 minutes to break a sweat and really start burning calories with Wii Sports. You would also need to test overweight people where it actually is easier for them to expend more energy far easier than a fit kid who can basically bounce off t

  • And here I thought playing Wii tennis made me better at the real thing...
  • it CAN replace the Gamecube, which it was built to do
  • Some folks go nuts with Wii sports and jump all around, but chances are the kids are just sitting around. I swear I think my aunt is going to tear down my house half the time and is pretty much exhausted afterwards.
  • by techpawn (969834) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:06PM (#21822076) Journal
    I know I can't bowl a perfect game in real life, but come damn close in Wii Sports. Nothing is the same as getting up and getting moving but even the article points out:

    The study did concede that while the actual calorie-burning benefits of the Wii were trivial, the activity that the Wii inspires could aid in weight management...
    Sadly that's what these kids need; Motivation! If playing Wii Sports gets them interested in playing real tennis then yeah, it's a good thing. Not a replacement, I won't stop going to the gym because I got a Wii or play DDR but it's a step in the right direction to get people moving again.
    • by RingDev (879105)
      I have a friend who lost 60+ lbs due to a DDR addiction.

      It all depends on the game you play. If Nintendo picks up on the head targeting system for a few games, playing an hour of a Wii game could wind up being just shy of the calories burnt in a low height stepper-size class. And you'd get to shoot Nazis too!

      -Rick

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by techpawn (969834)
        Personally I went from 215 down to under 160 in about 6 months. I'm not sure if it was DDR or that I changed my diet and started going to the gym after I started losing the weight. I like to think the DDR got me over that first step that so many people have trouble with and then it was all coasting from there. I've heard DDR Diet success stories, but, playing at home isn't the same as at the arcade (especially when you live on the third floor) and the math for cost per game VS. Gym membership over a year...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fotbr (855184)
          I think thats the key. DDR (or the Wii, or whatever) can serve as the kick in the butt to get things going (even if just mentally). Once motivation is there, more traditional methods are probably more effective.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by johnlcallaway (165670)
        I am an overweight over 40 man who has played DDR for many years, often in heavy mode, thanks to competition with my 20 year old daughter who always kicks my ass at it. It seems to be an excellent source of cardio excercise. But as a calorie burner, not so much. Most of the time your arms are not really used. Once I got good at it, the jumping tended to be mostly from my calves, not any of the larger muscle groups. I tend to be on my toes during the game, not really doing deep knee bends.

        My daughter and
  • by ACAx1985 (989265)
    I don't believe the study (or I need more information). Standing and moving around (such as Wii boxing or tennis, or whatever) burns many more calories than just sitting there and playing an RPG on Xbox360 -- this study isn't conclusive at all, with just six kids being tested.

    I do agree, however, that it doesn't even come close at all to real sports, and that it should not ever be considered a replacement. Nothing beats a few hours on the courts :)
  • by manekineko2 (1052430) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:10PM (#21822130)
    Without a doubt, the results of this study depend heavily on the methodology of how they had players play. This study got a total of eleven individuals in order to reach this conclusion.

    There are two ways to play the Wii, especially Wii sports: You can really get into it, swinging yours arms and making big motions and make it exercise (while having more fun in my opinion).
    Or you can play it like a video game, and just twitch the controller around. Of course, as Tycho and Gabe put it so eloquently, that makes you a toolbox:
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/11/13 [penny-arcade.com]

    In reaching the conclusion that Wii is only a 2% increase in calorie burning over 360 games, I'm sure the kids were only moving their wrists. Then, the difference breaks down to 360 = twitching thumbs, Wii = twitching wrists. I could believe that twitching wrists instead of just thumbs is a 2% increase in calories burnt over the 360.

    I know that when playing Wii boxing and making real punching motions, my arms get physically tired and I can work up a sweat after long enough. I am sure if someone wanted to, they could run another study and grab another headline by stating something like Wii Burns As Many Calories as Real Workout.

    • by joggle (594025) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:28PM (#21822274) Homepage Journal

      I am sure if someone wanted to, they could run another study and grab another headline by stating something like Wii Burns As Many Calories as Real Workout.

      I seriously doubt it. I play Wii sports and workout. There really is no comparison. The boxing game doesn't provide any resistance so you are essentially doing (weak) arobic exercise. Cycling would be far superior if that's what you are going for. I've seen people get out of breath playing the boxing game but they've all been pretty out of shape too.

      I think people get the impression that if you are sitting on your butt, regardless of what you're doing you are burning the same number of calories. This isn't true, though, as you burn more calories when your brain is active, such as when you are playing an intense Xbox 360 game. Still no comparison to true exercise, but I can see how standing on your feet swinging your arms around is only a 2% increase over an intense Xbox 360 game. If you want to burn calories playing a video game, stick with DDR (on a difficulty of at least medium).

      • by blincoln (592401)
        you are essentially doing (weak) [aerobic] exercise.

        More people should play the way my friends and I do when we get together at the house of a friend with a Wii. That is, jumping madly all over the place, swinging the Wiimote as if it were the handle of an axe, and accidentally smashing our hands into wooden furniture in order to win at Wii Sports Tennis.
        But yes, it's still obviously no match for e.g. 30-60 minutes of running. The same friends of mine and I were actually discussing this last week and defini
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Even DDR on easy for a half hour 4 days a week will keep you fit.
        As a reminder, fit does not equal slim.
        • by Unoti (731964)

          Even DDR on easy for a half hour 4 days a week will keep you fit. As a reminder, fit does not equal slim.

          Yep. Diet's the missing component there. 30 minutes DDR enough to get your pulse up into the magic zone 4 days a week, combined with a low-fat, low-sugar, high protein balanced diet, with say protein shakes with all the vitamins you need, and you'd get to slim pretty quick. People do workouts all the time, but it's the diet part that separates the men from the boys. A couple donuts every other day,

      • Wii boxing (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @05:31PM (#21824470) Homepage Journal
        You don't need much resistance to do aerobic exercise if you are using parts of your body other than your legs.

        You can drive your heart rate well into the anaerobic range just by keeping your hands in constant motion. If you haven't tried something like shadow boxing, you'd be surprised. I think that the human body has evolved for efficient bipedal locomotion; it is extremely inefficient at keeping the arms in motion. Three minutes of continuous shadow boxing takes far more energy than jogging the same amount of time. If you don't believe me, try it; see if you can shadow box for three minutes, and throw during that time 120 minutes, a mere 1.5 seconds/punch.

        Check out this video [youtube.com] of a boxer hitting the focus mitts. Notice that his punching rate averaged over each 30 second period goes up and down -- from about 1 1/3 down to about 3/4 punch per second. He's throwing blindingly fast combinations, but he has to rest and the rest period between combinations goes up and down. If you took 100 people off the street, I'd bet maybe one or two could keep up this level of activity for three minutes without coming close fainting. Of course the bulk of the energy being provided is from the creatine phosphate pathway and glycolysis, but believe me you go into oxygen debt doing this. I've seen strong men reduced to the consistency of overcooked spaghetti by underestimating how hard this is. It's really amusing to see the reaction of a newbie macho man when after sixty seconds the 98 pound woman in the next group is hitting harder and faster than he is.

        In Wii Tennis, you lose the main benefit of real tennis: running. Wii Boxing is far superior to Wii Tennis because you are encouraged to keep your upper body in constant motion, which as we've seen uses a lot of energy. It would be even better if there were a head tracking device, or something like a DDR mat that gave you more interesting tactical options like circling, advancing or retreating. One thing that newbies have trouble putting to use is that there are more directions in sparring than just forward and back. It adds a whole new um... dimension to the sport. Moving side to side is part of the answer to practically every kind of fighter. If you have a guy with a lot of reach, you throw of his sense of distance shifting to the side. If you have a powerful, aggressive puncher, you keep in circling so he can't plant his feet for a heavy punch. If you've got a southpaw, you move left to get out of range of that sneaky left hook, and so you can cross his lead with your own left hook.

        It would be better exercise too, not because the lower body motions are huge in themselves, the key is that you'd have more of your body moving at one time. It is reasonably easy to throw 120 fast punches in three minutes if you are standing flat footed, but if you are shuffling forward and back, side to side, doing a little bobbing and weaving and its a serious workout, even though if you kept your hands perfectly still those motions would hardly amount to anything.

        Of course, it still depends on the user. More experienced users are no doubt more efficient, just as more experienced sparring partners are more efficient. But the key is that it is to your advantage in the game then to throw more punches and blocks with your saved energy. In tennis, as you get more efficient, it is more advantageous to relax and wait for the next ball.

        Of course I totally agree, Wii Sports -- even Wii Boxing aren't a substitute for working out. But I think the Wii points the way to games that are much more active. I'd like to see head foot and hand tracking incorporated into future games. Non-shooting combat games are ideal for getting the whole body into motion.
        • by joggle (594025)
          I can see how rapid boxing would be good aerobic exercise. But it seems that the Wii boxing game doesn't register rapid punch sequences. Whenever I try punching as fast as I can it seems to only register half of them so I slow down so as to not waste energy. The 3-minute aerobic exercise that reduces most macho guys to mush that I prefer is riding west on a bike out of Boulder, Colorado. There are some really strenuous climbs nearby that quickly knock out most people, especially if they are trying to keep a
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by aeroelastic (840614)
          In Wii Tennis, you lose the main benefit of real tennis: running.

          You've never seen a 5-year old play Wii tennis then. My brother will run around the room when his person moves to get the ball. And when he isn't running, he's hopping up and down in anticipation. After a best of 5 game, he's about ready to pass out.
    • by TheCarp (96830) *
      Wii!

      Personally I would like to see them do a study with the boxing game, or even the supposedly better boxing game on the market that I haven't had a chance to play yet.

      I have played all these games a bit, not so much tennis. However the boxing game I found to really wear me out. I mean, it was no hour of martial arts class like I used to do several times a week, but it was enough that 2 matches in I wanted to sit for a miniute.

      -Steve
    • Or you can play it like a video game, and just twitch the controller around. Of course, as Tycho and Gabe put it so eloquently, that makes you a toolbox:
      http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/11/13 [penny-arcade.com] [penny-arcade.com]

      The comic was making fun of the people who do the full motions when only small motions is necessary. You totally missed it's point.

      In reaching the conclusion that Wii is only a 2% increase in calorie burning over 360 games, I'm sure the kids were only moving their wrists. Then, the difference breaks down to 360 = twitching thumbs, Wii = twitching wrists. I could believe that twitching wrists instead of just thumbs is a 2% increase in calories burnt over the 360.

      You're sure they were only twitching their wrists? I know very few people who just use their wrists. They at least use a little bit of arm in their motions. How do you know the people playing XBox weren't moving around while they are playing? People get excited and move around when they are just using a normal controller too. I wouldn't be so sure.

      I know that when playing Wii boxing and making real punching motions, my arms get physically tired and I can work up a sweat after long enough. I am sure if someone wanted to, they could run another study and grab another headline by stating something like Wii Burns As Many Calories as Real Workout.

      Don't you mean: "Playi

      • The comic was making fun of the people who do the full motions when only small motions is necessary. You totally missed it's point.

        I do so enjoy it when people who are unnecessarily sarcastic and mean on the internet get their comeuppance. It is you who totally missed the point of the comic, and did not bother to verify before posting.

        Quote Tycho, in his news post explaining the comic:
        "As regards the comic, yes: I fear that Toolbox Syndrome will run rampant on the new system. If you're by yourself in y

      • Regarding your mocking commentary on shadow boxing, I will refer you to another comment, which explained it much better than I ever could have.

        http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=399268&cid=21824470 [slashdot.org]

      • By shadow boxing do you mean real shadow boxing or Wii Boxing? Shadow boxing is quite exhausting.
  • by east coast (590680) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:11PM (#21822136)
    We need to have weighted Wii-motes to help go that extra distance. It would be like the 2 pound power-walking weights.
    • by techpawn (969834)
      Wii-Weights? Who are you Piccolo... Rock Lee...?
    • by Fez (468752) *
      My wife got me a Nerf-made Wii Sports pack with a tennis racket, baseball bat, and golf club for Christmas.

      I had thought the cheap plastic ones would be too light to make a difference, but the Nerf ones have some weight to them and really change the experience, almost too much! I was getting pretty good at tennis, but I put the Nerf attachment on and I practically have to relearn the game because of the added weight.

      Plus, it's Nerf. You can smack people over the head with it and it's fine.

      Side note: For Bas
    • The straps on those things would have to be seriously reinforced. If people were breaking stuff with ordinary Wiimotes, just think how much worse it'd be if there was some actual force behind them. I'm not saying that the idea doesn't have merit, just that some dude is going to bury that thing in his TV if they use the same wrist strap.
  • One could always add say wrist weights to your wii enjoyment. Wii Boxing with 5lb's on yeah arm will get your going real fast.
  • by darkrowan (976992) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:16PM (#21822174)
    ... DDR!
    Nothing... NOTHING beats a DDR workout. Wanna really test something against a sport/gym workout? 30 mins of DDR (actual play time) vs 30min Cardio workout. I'd be curious how close the ratio comes out to 1 on that.

    ~my $.02
    • by techpawn (969834)
      30 mins of Max300/Legend of Max or all the Paranoia Mixes... Yeah that should get you pretty close if not past 30 mins of cardio... It would be awesome if my gym got a "free play" ddr machine for members...
    • by Applekid (993327)
      Most of the home versions have a "workout mode" that takes your weight as input and calculates how many kcal you burn based on your performance.

      Now that I think about it, I'm curious how accurate those calculations are... how would they know if I'm holding onto a chair in back of me to support my weight or if I'm really twisiting around and stuff?
  • by TheRasher (911196)
    I'm going to assume that this is Obvious Day, so I'm expecting the next headline to read something along the lines of "Scientists Announce That The Xbox 360 Is Less Effective At Making Toast Than An Actual Toaster".
  • Real exercise consists of more than merely flapping your arms around? Seriously?
  • With today's kids, I'd already be happy with 2% workout. It sure is an insane boost from the 0% they get now.
    • by Sciros (986030)
      Real good math there! A *2% increase from playing 360* is a 2% workout? Okay...

      Also, "2% of a daily workout" would be insignificant and about as useful as 0%. Seriously. If you have an exercise regimen and one day you replace your 360 with a Wii, it doesn't mean you should adjust your exercie regimen.
      • by bahwi (43111)
        Did you read the OP? He was stating that most kids exercise routine is the Xbox 360! And that getting a 2% boost is still better than not doing anything at all.
        • by Sciros (986030)
          It's 2% of the Xbox routine, man!! If you think the 2% is significant, then that Xbox routine must be a hell of a workout. Good grief, this isn't rocket science.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:24PM (#21822228)
    This is a hoax. The original research "appears" at http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/335/7633/1282 [bmj.com]

    It is worth noting that BMJ regularly provides joke studies on Christmas.

    Further explanation from the Language Log: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/005246.html [upenn.edu]
  • i played wii boxing and tennis for about 2 hours last nite and my arms are killing me.
    • by bahwi (43111)
      I was up and jumping around, with wrist weights on. My legs aren't hurting but are definitely resting from a workout, my arms and shoulders are both hurting from some tennis. (Swing both arms to get exercise, get up and move around, and yeah, you're getting more than an extra 60cals an hour)
  • I would bet that, while it can't replace actual sports, it could replace other healthy activities like meditation, yoga, stretching or even light aerobics. The Wii Balance Board [nintendo.com] looks like it can help people with those, and I'm sure there are some health benefits from those like lower stress etc. While you might stretch the health benefits of something akin to DDR with a dancepad, it's still a step in a good direction for better health while still having fun with video games.
  • It's all about how much you put into it. These were healthy kids who regularly get exercise tested. Try it on a kid who now has the wii as the most movement they are getting at all. Most people using the wii as a fitness tool will be moving their feet for tennis and using full arm movement. Were these kids doing that? Or sitting down? Sometimes I even with wrist or ankle weights.

    As an adult, I use one of those watches that counts how many calories you burn(takes your heart rate and compares with age, weight
  • by HockeyPuck (141947)
    I teach bass guitar at a center with about 15 instructors so we've got about a hundred students coming through. Most of these kids attempt bass/electric guitar for a few months and then give up (this is typical of most instruments btw). I took an informal poll of the other instructors and we haven't noticed any increase in enrollment (or students actually sticking with it) since the introduction of Guitar Hero/RockBand.

    While you can become pretty good if you sit down one day and play GuitarHero, while pla
    • Musical Instrument teaching methodology sucks.

      Maybe you are different, but not many people are interested in learning notes, they are interested in playing music.

      I have yet to see a music teacher teach towards a goal the student can comprehend.

      Usually it's, here is how you do this note, not please do it 10,000,000 times.and I'll also tell you your doing it wrong every 3rd time.
      F' that.

      If people taught guitar the way guitar Hero taught people to use the guitar controller, there would be fewer drop outs.

      Let
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HockeyPuck (141947)
        Wow, you're pretty out of touch with the way most instructors teach. Are you still stuck in the way one learned piano in the 50s? Sure there are many musicians out there that are 'jukeboxes' and can duplicate any riffs/songs, but if you asked them to play something in Gm, they'd look at you like you'd just asked them to play an accordion. Musicians understand what they are playing, jukeboxes are no different than GuitarHero players. They memorize positions/fingerings and get the desired sound.

        On the ve
  • Clearly, they aren't playing it right.

    The Wii was designed for the people who swing their arms from side to side trying to make mario jump.
    It's not designed for couch potatoes.

    If you're sitting down playing the Wii, or you're not getting into it and getting excited and involved, then no, of course you're not going to burn any calories you moron.

    Play Guitar Hero the way it was meant to be played. Over your head, jumping up and down on stage, scissor-kicking, etc. And then just for good measure, thrash your c
  • Chindgu [wikipedia.org] to the rescue....

    Surely this is easily remediable with some kind of "heavy" controller.

    Heck, even duct tape them to hand weights.... they did the same thing with telephone handsets [google.com] awhile back...
  • This is a great example of science journalism. The study that the article is based on found that Wii games use at least 65.1 kJ/kg/min more than the 125.5 kJ/kg/min burnt playing sedentary games. Because science journalists lack even rudimentary math skills, they're often unaware that "2% more" isn't the same thing as "more than half again". Furthermore, since they also lack reading comprehension skills, they weren't tipped off that the position of the article was dead wrong by the statement that energy use
  • by Deslock (86955) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @04:22PM (#21823870)
    The /. story (and next-gen article it's based on) are both very misleading. next-gen article states:

    The result showed that the youths burned 60 calories (in nutrition terms) more an hour playing Wii, a 2% increase in the amount of energy burned versus the Xbox 360 players.
    Uhuh... if 60 calories more per hour is only a 2% increase, that'd mean that playing XBox burns 3,000 calories an hour! For anyone not familiar with a person's energy consumption, that's about triple what a 140-pound adult burns racing a bicycle at 20 MPH or running at 9 MPH. Since a typical 13-15 year weighs 110-pounds, the supposed 3,000 calories/hour would be more like quadruple what they would burn running/bicycling.

    So obviously that article is wrong. This less sensational and more accurate article [medpagetoday.com] states:

    Microsoft's Project Gotham Racing 3 for XBOX 360 can't hold a candle in fitness for teens to bowling, tennis, or boxing on Nintendo's Wii Sports, researchers found here.

    But neither compared with fitness gains from playing live sports, reported Gareth Stratton, Ph.D., of Liverpool John Moores University, and colleagues in the Dec. 22 issue of BMJ.
    and

    - For Project Gotham Racing 3, the mean energy expenditure was 125.5
    kJ/kg/min.
    - For Wii Sports bowling, it was 190.6 kJ/kg/min.
    - For Wii Sports boxing, it was 198.1 kJ/kg/min.
    - For Wii Sports tennis, it was 202.5 kJ/kg/min.
    So the study actually states that playing Wii Sports burns 51-61% more energy per hour than Project Gotham 3 on the XBox 360. However, the difference in total overall energy consumption over an entire week (counting time doing other things) is only 2%. It isn't clear in the medpagetoday article how many hours of play resulted in that 2% increase. However, if someone burned 12,000 calories per week then 2% of that would be 240 calories, which equates to 4 hours per week (keeping in mind that their definition of an hour includes a 5 min break for every 15 min of play).

    Of course, how you play will affect how quickly you burn the calories too... I know people who play Wii sports sitting still while only flicking their wrists and others who stand up and move their whole bodies pretending they're really boxing/batting/whatever.
  • I miss the days when there was a "Reality Check" to science. You see, there are so many factors that can contribute to data being wrong that most professors will institute what's known as a Reality Check Rule. When you're figuring out the EMF of a particular circuit, coming up with 25 Tesla is really out of the ballpark, the data is either wrong or miscalculated.

    I seriously think this is an experiment missing the Reality Check. It's really quite easy when you think about it, how many muscle groups are being
  • I remember reading something 6-8 months ago about them studying wii tennis vs real tennis, and drawing the same pointless conclusion.
    The amount of calories you burn is extremely dependent on how "hard" you play the game and which game you're playing. Tennis burns next to nothing. Boxing on the other hand after 30 minutes I can work up a good sweat.
  • To the editors, the source of such research is not the "University of Liverpool" but the John Moore's University (wich happens to be located in Liverpool also) as the article states in the first paragraph:

    Professor Gareth Stratton and a team at John Moore's University in Liverpool

    There are 3 Universities in Liverpool, UK. One is The University of Liverpool (recently renamed just University of Liverpool), secondly you have Jhon Moore's University and third is the Hope University.
  • but come now - have you ever played tennis? If you have ever played basketball, imagine that but not getting the chance to stop for setting up your next game plan.

    If you want cardio, trying to keep beating your record in the first boxing practice thing is great for your upper body and cardio.

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