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The Good Fortune of Wii Exercise 81

eldavojohn writes "While some users of the Wii complained of soreness or 'Wii elbow' when playing it too much, others are heralding its workout value. The University of Toronto is working on a 'therapeutic video game' for the Wii that is designed to help children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy exercise their weaker limb, people are claiming weight loss and in the January issue of Pediatrics the Mayo clinic is proposing that gaming systems like the Wii can combat child obesity."
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The Good Fortune of Wii Exercise

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  • Sad Statement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @05:27PM (#17865360)
    I love my Wii, but think that people losing weight from playing Wii games is more a sad statement on how out of shape people are then the implicit greatness of the Wii.
    • Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @05:37PM (#17865572) Homepage Journal
      I bet if those same people walked an hour each day they'd lose the same or more weight. But at this point if it takes the games of the wii to motivate them then it's overall a good thing.
      • Re:Agreed (Score:4, Interesting)

        by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Friday February 02, 2007 @05:39PM (#17865622) Journal
        Absolutely. The best exercise in the world is the exercise that you actually do.

        Personally, I'm waiting for cyber-jacks so I can jack in and let some AI exercise my body for me while I play video games. ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by crossmr ( 957846 )
        Actually in order to lose some massive weight just from walking most people would need to look at walking in the neighbourhood of 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week. While good for stamina and general cardiovascular health, walking alone for 30-60 minutes just doesn't provide the necessary calorie deficiency for any kind of real weight loss unless you're severely obese (i.e. in the neighbourhood of 300+ lbs). I had a neighbour a few years ago who was overweight, probably in the 300+ range given his height and g
        • I had a neighbour a few years ago who was overweight, probably in the 300+ range given his height and girth. He started walking about 2 1/2 hours a day, everyday of the week. It was about a year and a half before he started to lose weight, but then it started to pour off.

          While he may not have started losing weight for a while, I bet he was a damn sight healthier much sooner than that. It's not uncommon for overweight people to actually gain a little weight as they start excercising, as their muscle mass

      • Speaking as a sad sack of crap, I find most exercise rather boring, hence why I haven't really done it before. For various reasons I can't own a bike right now, and walking/running, even with my favorite music to accompany me, just gets 'blah'. I had a walking machine for a bit, but even doing that while watching TV became mundane. If I had a buddy to exercise with, like playing basketball or tennis or something, it would be a lot easier for me to get out there.

        The Wii, on the other hand, provides me with
      • Well I haven't been able to get hold of one yet, but have consoled myself by eating lots of chocolate. And cakes. Especially cake. Even better when they are chocolaty ones.

        Chocolate cake baseball is much more fun to play in the living room anyway.
    • I played the Wii for 5 hours strait alternating playing with my niece and nephew and wasn't even a little tired. If you're feeling discomfort or losing weight from just moving your arms around without resistance, you have serious issues to deal with. Yes, the Wii makes you move, a little, but it is not an effective weight loss or exercise tool for a healthy person. Maybe if you weighted the controllers, or stretched a rubber tube around your back and connected it to each controller, you might get enough
      • Yes, the Wii makes you move, a little
        Obviously, you don't play enough boxing. I'm not in the best shape, but I do walk/run home 3 miles from the train station. Wii Sports Boxing still leaves me breathing heavy and drenched in sweat. I have a hard time believing that the effect would be any different on most other video game players. At least, if you're doing it right. ;)

        FWIW, the Wii may not be an acceptable replacement for exercise, but it's a sight better than getting no exercise whatsoever.
        • by G-funk ( 22712 )
          Are my mates and I doing something wrong? We *hate* Wii boxing, your character just seems to do as he pleases, and as far as I can tell your movements with the wiimote/nunchuku has very little bearing on your avatar. We curse out the difficulty of baseball and tennis once you go pro, but we can't get anywhere with the boxing.
          • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @05:35AM (#17871364) Homepage

            Are my mates and I doing something wrong? We *hate* Wii boxing, your character just seems to do as he pleases, and as far as I can tell your movements with the wiimote/nunchuku has very little bearing on your avatar

            Yes, you're doing something wrong :-)

            Most people, when starting to play Wii boxing, flail the controllers in every which way, trying to get as many hits as possible. That doesn't work. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

            • You don't control the punches. Once the Wii registers that you want to punch, it runs a punch animation which has nothing to do with the speed of your own punch. Don't start the next punch too quickly, wait until your Mii is done with the punch.
            • While it's possible to do right-left-right combinations, you can't do them too fast. You need to get the timing right, which takes some practise. If you're too fast, the second punch won't register at all. If you're too slow, you're giving the opponent an opening.
            • Block! Never forget to keep your hands in blocking position. You can block lower or higher (and punch lower or higher) by turning the controllers. If you point them towards the screen, it's low. If you point them towards yourself, it's high. The actual height of the controllers does not matter, although usually height and position correspond.
            • Move left and right! This is important. If you move quickly from side to side, it's hard for the opponent to hit you.
            • Uppercuts: Start with a low position (pointing towards the TV), then punch and go to a high position at the same time. This will create an uppercut.
            • "Side punch." Punch to the right while keeping your fist straght (i.e. move your hand sideways)
            • While both the Uppercut and the side punch are strong and often manage to go through the opponent's block, they also open your own block. If you're not careful, the opponent can easily hit you while you're attempting an uppercut or a side punch.
            • Slow motion. If the opponent punches and you manage to evade the punch, sometimes it throws him off. The game moves to slow motion and you can land a hard counterpunch.
            • Finally, Wii Boxing is a strategic game, not a game of force. If you start out playing Wii Boxing, try not to attack the opponent too much. Always block and duck to the sides. That way, it's easy to control your Mii, and it's hard for the opponent to land punches. Try to land a punch as soon as you see an opening, or as soon as the opponent misses and goes into slow motion. When land a punch, immediately follow with combinations, and then go back to blocking and ducking.

            Keep these things in mind, and Wii Boxing will make a whole lot more sense and be a whole lot more fun.

      • by Kamots ( 321174 )
        Different play styles different results.

        Play wii tennis by barely moving your arms and flicking your wrist, and you'll get a decent case of carpel tunnel.

        Play wii tennis as though you were really playing tennis, (ie, bouncing on the ball of your foot while waiting for the return, doing proper footwork, making full swings, etc...), and you'll get a decent workout out of it.
  • 'Wii Elbow' (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pancake Bandit ( 987571 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @05:28PM (#17865372)
    The nice thing about the wii is that you don't need to make drastic movements to use the wii controller, though it's more fun to get into it and wave it wildly :)
  • It's all well in good that the wii and similar gaming setups have other advantages besides the primary use.

    However, it is a sorry state of society if a video game is the only thing that can combat child obesity effectively. I believe more thought should go into an article when they mention stuff like this, and not just hype the somewhat depressing advantages.

    • Hey, it's a fact that there are a lot of obese kids (and adults) around. If playing on the Wii helps them get unfat, then that's a good thing, just like DDR exercise is a good thing.

      ANYTHING that helps overweight people lose weight is probably a good thing, regardless of whether it indicates a "sorry state of society".
      • I agree with you. There is a large number of obese people of all ages; and if playing a game can really combat their obesity, I am all for it.

        My point was more of the fact that as a society, being in shape is not as high of a priority, and now we have to resort to "tricking" people to lose weight. I just feel the tone of the article is too much like a late night obesity pill commercial, rather then a cool side-effect of a good product.

    • Kids tend to enjoy playing video games, and a growing number of adults do so as well. Generations who have grown up with video games will only cause this trend to continue. Given this fact, would you rather they sit on the couch to play or get up and move around? Personally, I've always preferred video games that get you into the game beyond the simple joypad/joystick controller. They haven't necessarily promoted exercise, arcade driving games that you actually sit in the cabinet to play for example, but th
      • "Given this fact, would you rather they sit on the couch to play or get up and move around?"

        There is the problem that I was commenting on. Of course I'd rather people get up and move around, but do we really only have those 2 chooses? Are you suggesting that games now rule our society to the point that we have to go a round-about way to get people to get in shape?

        I am not really knocking it, I am more stating that we are at a point where an otherwise cool fact about an existing produce; gets hyped

        • do we really only have those 2 chooses? Are you suggesting that games now rule our society to the point that we have to go a round-about way to get people to get in shape?

          My observations would seem to suggest that this is pretty close to the truth for a large number of gamers. I've never had a weight problem myself, but I know enough people that do.

          I believe there should be more then couch potato and couch potato playing Wii.

          You're right of course, there should be (and are!) other alternatives to sitting on
  • In 2010... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dasupalouie ( 1038538 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @05:31PM (#17865446)
    Wii + DDR We are going to have a skinny nerd epidemic
  • ... proposing that gaming systems like the Wii can combat child obesity.

    So I guess school districts will cancel their P.E. programs to pay for the new Nintendo Wii fitness program?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mr. Ksoft ( 975875 )
      Let's hope so. Because the normal PE programs discriminate against me and my geekiness.
    • Some schools already use DDR in P.E.
    • So I guess school districts will cancel their P.E. programs to pay for the new Nintendo Wii fitness program?

      Many don't have mandatory P.E. here in the USA. My son's in high school and they only require you take two classes over four years. Pretty slack - good thing he walks a lot.
      • My high school only required that you take PE, once, in grade 9. I'm in my last semester of grade 12 now and that is the only PE class I took over my 4 years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      "So I guess school districts will cancel their P.E. programs to pay for the new Nintendo Wii fitness program?"

      My Wii has yet to throw a dodgeball at my face.
  • I'll say! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NeoPaladin394 ( 1044484 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @05:34PM (#17865498)
    Wii Boxing is especially great for getting some exercise. It starts out easily enough, but with tougher opponents, shaking out of a knockout after swinging madly to hit them can completely wear you out. That, and I'm on a bottom floor apartment, so I usually jump around a bit while the NPC is knocked out. After an hour, I usually have to take a bath. On top of that, it's FUN!

    You sort of get out of it what you put into it. It's possible to use the minimal amount of movement to trigger an in game action, or find the 'bug' movements that trick the controller, but on the same token it's just as easy to put your whole body into it.

    IMHO, the system is worth the money scalped from me on eBay.

  • by tmjr3353 ( 925558 ) <tmackintosh @ g m a i l . c om> on Friday February 02, 2007 @05:35PM (#17865534)
    Konami recently announced a DDR game for the Wii that will combine the traditional DDR gameplay with motion controls. IGN article is right here [ign.com].
    • by Dorceon ( 928997 )
      It's a shame home DDR can never be as good as the arcade, but I appreciate the gesture. (No pun intended.)
      • by Mprx ( 82435 )
        With a high quality hard pad (which means either CobaltFlux or DIY home built) and Stepmania, it can be better.
        • by Dorceon ( 928997 )
          I've tried a CobaltFlux pad, and I wasn't impressed. The thing stopping me from getting this [amazon.com] is the housing market in the SF bay area. (I probably wouldn't actually buy the machine direct from Amazon, just so you know.)
    • by kabocox ( 199019 )
      Konami recently announced a DDR game for the Wii that will combine the traditional DDR gameplay with motion controls.

      We just got a DDR for Christmas... We also got 3 RPGs. I was on the DDR for an hour after work and then it was about one RPG for two weeks. I just started FFXII earlier this week. The hour of DDR first didn't make it till Feb. I liked the DDR, but there are several not so small issues that I have with it. Number one is that it has a really steep learning curve. The tutorial is almost a joke.
      • by pjp6259 ( 142654 )
        Some tips on DDR. You can get a $10 foam pad from red octane. Then duct tape your cheap pad to the foam, and it will reduce 90% of the pad movement. Plus it's easier on your legs, and makes less noise. Also, I'm not sure which DDR game you use, but check for more options to make the game easier. On the version I play DDR Ultramix 4 (Xbox), you can set it so that you only use the left & right arrows to get familiar with the music. Also, you can add arrows to help raise your dance gauge. Don't give
  • Physical Therapy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeathKoil ( 413307 )
    People losing weight from playing a video is great and all, though it does shed light on how out of shape some people are. However, I've thought about the Wii and how its use could be great for people in physical therapy.

    A while back a friend of mine broke his arm, and was in physical therapy for 8 weeks. During this time he had to do a lot of exercises with his arm and would always complain about how boring and annoying it was, sitting in a room with a bunch of other hurt people, doing exercises for an hou
    • by JoshJ ( 1009085 )
      The problem is that people will tend to move too fast, which could be harmful.
      Among the Wii Sports games:
      Boxing is right out.
      Baseball is no good.
      Golf is doubtful.
      Bowling is a maybe.
      Tennis is no good.

      Why is bowling a maybe?
      Because you overthrow it. The exercise you're referring to likely does not want the person's arm being pulled up that much.

      I mean, it's certainly possible, but I suspect it would be nothing more than a glorified "accuracy meter" than an actual game.
  • Wow, that is pretty cool. I should get into this myself.

    Well, there's no "developer.nintendo.com," hmm...maybe I can search for a Wii dev kit [google.com]. Nope, nothing but a bunch of speculation and entrenched industry figures.

    Guess Nintendo's not too big on this "novel, independent development" thing, eh?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by D4rk Fx ( 862399 )
      You're not searching the right terms. Here is the application website [warioworld.com]. Note: You will likely be unable to get a dev kit for personal use... You're right in saying they don't really want independent production of games. With the Dev kit it would probably be too easy to figure out how a lot of the internal protection stuff works that they don't want you to know about.
    • by pNutz ( 45478 )
      Well, Wii Development Kit [google.com] comes up with some worthwhile pictures, figures, and information. Maybe if you used the grown-up words for things...
  • by JoshDM ( 741866 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @06:04PM (#17866058) Homepage Journal
    ...after using it for the last couple of weeks, my right arm seems a bit stronger and beefier than my left arm.

    I haven't had this problem since before I got married!
  • This gaves a whole new meaning to a Scott saying you are going to do a 'wii bit of exercise".
  • One thing I feel should be noted is that in the Wii game Warioware: Smooth Moves, there is a game mode exclusively designed to give you a workout.

    For anyone familiar with the actual game, it has microgames in which you have five seconds to perform some sort of action with the Wiimote.

    Well, in "workout mode" (not the official name, by the way), you exclusively play games which require a lot of movement, and you play them longer than you would in normal gameplay.

    They include moving your arms up and down like
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      One thing I feel should be noted is that in the Wii game Warioware: Smooth Moves, there is a game mode exclusively designed to give you a workout.

      That's the "Dr. Crygor and Mike" game. It comes after you finish all the modes once (so you get muliplayer), plus finish Orbulon (uses both the Form Baton (wiimote) and Balance Stone (nunchuck)), to unlock.

      Mind you, you should play the other modes to "earn" more minigames. The story mode is short, but exposes you to very few of the 200 microgames that are actuall

  • Weighted Controller? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by syukton ( 256348 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @06:27PM (#17866428)
    Do they have a weighted controller for the Wii yet? Maybe some sort of attachment for the existing controller? Nothing extreme, just 2-5 pounds or so.
  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Friday February 02, 2007 @06:46PM (#17866722) Homepage Journal
    This is the perfect thread to point out the video:
    http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1712492 [collegehumor.com]

    My favorite is the Hara-kiri game.

    Is there a good chance of an open-source type development engine that will let some pranksters bring some of these gags into fruition on the Wii controller?
  • As someone who lifts weights casually, playing a lot of wii sports seems to have really damaged and shrunk the applicable muscles. It feels similar to the effect baseball players experience if they try throwing a wiffle ball; something that is a huge no-no once you've developed those muscles.

    But it does get me off the couch and moving around which has had a very minor positive effect on my body fat levels.
  • I propose someone create a 5 pound Wii Remote. Parents can secretly do the switch. Just make sure to make the wrist strap extra durable in case something like this [youtube.com] happens.
    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      Assuming the strap is way tougher than the current one (even the enhanced one, cuz you dont want anyone to hurt themselves...probably need a totally redesigned wiimote with rubber handles, etc), this would actualy be an amazing idea. I'd buy one :) Only thing that would worrie me is the risk of injuries and such, but I'm sure someone can design something safe. I wouldnt give it to a little kid though :)
      • Actually, I have the original straps, and it's just a matter of: a. properly securing them; b. wiping your palms off when you get too sweaty (usually in boxing); c. not overdoing it.

        Besides, since we all have to buy HDTVs in 2009, so what if your TV breaks?
        • by Shados ( 741919 )
          Well, no, I wasnt thinking about the current wiimote, but about the 5 pound one. Anything 5 pound that you swing around at high velocity would be dangerous (as opposed to the normal wiimote, where its only dangerous if you're retarded). And the TV was the least of my worries. More like someone's eye or head =P
          • hmmm. maybe if it had sharp edges ...

            The Amazing Wii Combat Blade! - Why be a 100 pound weakling when you can get the Amazing Wii Combat Blade - yes, it's a Wiimote with a blade edge that weighs five pounds, building your upper body strength and realistically training you in martial arts with blade weapons.

            Coming Soon: The Bushido Sword for the Wii! .... yeah, those sound safe.
    • I bought wrist/ankle weights a few weeks before I got my Wii. They work! The little bit of weight resistance can be felt and I can tell it is working my muscles. They were only $20 for the pair.
      Just them on your forearm(s) using the Velcro(TM) straps and you've got a decent work out for your arms. Luckily I walk to work as well, so they double as ankle weights.
  • broken arm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Allison Geode ( 598914 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @07:57PM (#17867584)
    i broke my arm when i fell off my bicycle over the summer. specifically, i fractured the radial head, which is a part of the elbow which controls fore-arm rotation. (as the doctor explained it to me, IANAMD) though the arm healed, the range of motion never returned fully. After my first week of having a wii (last week) my arm was INCREDIBLY stiff, and my range of motion limited, so i took it easy for a few days. now, however, the range has returned... and then some, moreso than how it was before i got the wii. its not back to the full, pre-break range yet, but..... its more than it was, and i think the constant and continuous use of my arms motion has probably helped.

    is it possible that this thing could be used in physical therapy?
    • IANAPT, but I definitely think so. Your case is an excellent example, though I might have asked for a professional opinion before using it. Please take no offense, I'm just paranoid.

      Furthermore, I think the possibilities are endless. Anything that uses hand-eye coordination can benefit from the new control scheme of the Wii. Think about stroke victims who are trying to redevelop their reflexes and responsiveness. The Wii could be a huge benefit.
  • There's more to it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cloud K ( 125581 ) on Friday February 02, 2007 @09:04PM (#17868240)
    I've seen people say that it's not enough exercise,
    that it's a sad state of society that it takes games to get people to move (whatever... society never is pretty),
    that one shouldn't use the Wii as a substitute for proper exercise
    etc etc.

    But that's just it. First off, for many people any exercise is good exercise. Many people these days get *none* (other than walking to the fridge) so this is a major improvement.

    Secondly - it's not about what exercise the Wii gives you. It's about getting you on track. Since getting mine I got the "fitness bug" and have been doing other exercise activities (such as a brisk walk at lunchtime) and eating far more healthily. I'm even tempted to try some of the sports in reality. All of that was inspired by the Wii, and whoever thought up this idea needs a medal.

    Thirdly - even if you only count the Wii exercise, every little helps. It may not be much on its own, but when combined with using the stairs instead of the elevator on the way to work or whatever, parking further away and walking further, etc etc... it all adds up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, 2007 @09:22PM (#17868406)
    I hope devs aren't encouraged by this to make progressively more active games. They're eventually going to make things I am unable to play without passing out or hurting myself. I got into this hobby for a reason, and it's definitely not because I enjoy moving around.
  • by Bobtree ( 105901 ) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @12:40AM (#17869978)
    Every game on the Wii seems to work a different group of muscles because of the unique control movements involved. When I play something new for a couple of days, I find new sore spots. Oddly enough it's Excite Truck that keeps my heart rate up (and shoulders tense) the most while playing. It may turn out to be my favorite of the launch titles given its addictive, high adrenaline, and high replay value game style.
  • What happens when someone publishes a game for the Wii that is specifically designed to burn up calories? How? Just make the required motion of the Wiimote "big"... big arcs, rapid, etc.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Wii-Gyms open up in a year or two. Or Wii Weight Loss Boot Camps...

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