For decades now parents have bemoaned video games for their ability to consume their children’s time. Video games are addictive and incredibly popular and tearing the kids away from the screen has always been a difficult task. Outdoor activities and sports are far better for a child’s health, but if you live in a busy city or in a country where the weather is awful 90% of the time it can be hard work persuading kids to spent time outside. The Nintendo Wii console might be something of a happy middle ground. It is a video game alright, but one that is far more active than any before it.
Active, not passive
The Wii works by sensing movement in the area in front of your TV screen, meaning that your whole body movements create action on the screen. You have a control pad that is split in two (one part for each hand) and by moving the pads in the air, you control the game. So by playing a Wii tennis game, you are literally on your feet, swinging the pad to hit a virtual ball out of the air. Instead of sitting on your backside moving only your thumbs, you are actively on your feet working up a sweat.
Real health benefits
The Wii was designed to allow for all sorts of game types. There are games that are simply fun and silly, but there are also games that contain genuine fitness programs. There are a number of different sports games and even dance simulations that can work up a sweat. All of these games are active and physical and provide you with a real workout. You can play mutli-player on most of the games, so doubles tennis in the living room is a real possibility. Obviously you are not throwing yourself about as much as you would in real life, but for an indoor workout it is a pretty fun way to stay in shape for both kids and adults. As with anything, you may sometimes be tempted to get rid of your Wii and earn cash on a resale, but you’d be giving up on a really versatile family entertainment option.
Lose weight and rehab injuries
The Wii has been out long enough now that there are proven cases of people losing weight using the games. Many people don’t have the money to buy sports equipment, pay member’s fees and drive to sports halls or gyms, so getting the basic Wii sports package (that comes with most purchases of the system) provides a really affordable alternative. There are even people working on games that can help rehab injuries by programing therapeutic movements and techniques into games. The applications are endless and there will only be more options going forward.
If the sun is shining there is no good reason for kids to be indoors, but when the nights are cold and wet there is plenty worse they could be doing than playing on a Wii. Active participation in games that help hand-eye co-ordination is far better than vegging in front of the TV, while the sports games will give the kids a real workout.