Recent research suggests that the Wii Fit is “no panacea” when it comes to providing a workout.
As part of a study (PDF) funded by the American Council on Exercise, 16 volunteers between the ages of 20 and 24 underwent Wii Fit training to determine the effect the title can have on health.
After establishing a baseline fitness level in each participant, each was then subjected to six activities chosen from the game especially for their ability to aerobically challenge— Free Run, Island Run, Free Step, Advanced Step, Super Hula Hoop, and Rhythm Boxing. Of the six activities tested, Island Run and Free Run had the best results, though “neither was sufficient enough to maintain or improve cardiorespiratory endurance as defined by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
John Porcari, Ph. D., one of the lead researchers on the project, had this to say about Wii Fit:
I guess anything is better than nothing, but we were a little bit underwhelmed with the exercise intensity of some of the exercises. The Wii Fit is a very, very mild workout.
In fact, playing Wii Sports may be a better workout than Wii Fit, as Alexa Carroll, M.S., the study’s author, noted:
You’re better off doing Wii Sports than Wii Fit. In Wii Sports there’s more jumping around, and you’re not constrained by having to stand on the balance pad. I just think there’s much more freedom of movement and you get a better workout.”