I’m conflicted. I have a lot of friends that work at Advanced Micro-Devices (AMD). If you’ve been living under a rock, you’re not aware of the fact that recently Nintendo produced a new gaming system called the Wii. The Wii uses an AMD graphics processor (“Hollywood”).
So, for the sake of my friends I hope that the Wii does very well. On the other hand, as a personal trainer, I want everyone to enjoy fitness and do it more. Today’s generation of kids (and adults) is, as a whole, GROSSLY inactive. So, as a personal trainer, computer gaming systems for the most part, are against my overall philosophy as they tend to promote further lack of physical activity.
But, for the first time, the Wii is different than other gaming systems. It actually encourages physical activity! For example, to play a tennis game on the Wii system, you use the controller and swing it like a racket.
The same goes for bowling, or other sports movements. The Wii’s technology is a motion technology and encourages the user to get up and move! Excellent! And yet, this is where my true conflict arrises.
In my opinion, the only thing truly better than playing a video game on the Wii gaming system, is actually going out and playing that sport! The only thing better than playing tennis on the Wii system is ACTUALLY GOING OUT AND PLAYING TENNIS. Fitness is fun! This is what trainers across the globe have been telling people for YEARS! Why throw a football on a computer/TV screen when you can go and throw a football in real life?! With real friends?!
A strong part of my personal training psyche is yelling in the back of my brain to promote a new marketing campaign. I can see it now: Try the new technology that is so advanced you actually become a part of the game! It’s called SPORTS! Dad’s, mom’s, get your kids to try this new advancement for the low, low price, of…ok, I haven’t figured out how to price this product yet.
To put a finer point on it, perhaps you can save yourself and your kid’s some money by just getting them up and going outside with them and having fun with sports. Throw a football, go jogging, play golf, go bowling. Any and all activity, from a fitness perspective, is great!
But don’t get me wrong; I think the technology of the Wii could be a great boon to physical fitness and could certainly be a great take-off point to encourage this generation to get out and do more sports. Perhaps after using the truly cool technology that the Wii uses, they’ll realize that life itself and activity as a whole is pretty cool as well.
It has certainly been indicated that video games improve hand-eye coordination. It has also been indicated that viewing things like video games and television can produce the same chemical secretions as actually partaking of the activity viewed.
So, after a player using the Wii is inundated with all the physical reactions of playing the sport, perhaps the segue to simply playing the sport itself will be an easy transition.
What my rant boils down to is this: if you want to save yourself some money, then get up and go play sports, and encourage your kids to do the same, rather than purchasing a video gaming system.
If, however, you simply MUST purchase a gaming system then, from a fitness perspective, the Wii is the way to go. Oh, by the way, the technology in the Wii, fitness aside, is pretty impressive as well, so don’t discount that. But something that is seen on a video monitor simply can’t compare to an experience encountered in real life.