A new study has suggested that playing Wii Fit video games could provide adequate exercise to improve health and physical fitness.
These Wii Fit games, Step and Hula, 'can be used as an effective mode of physical activity to improve health in adult women', said researchers Jennifer R. Worley and Sharon N. Rogers, and their advisor, Robert R. Kraemer, of Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond.
However, they cautioned that players should strive to participate at higher (intermediate) game levels to gain exercise benefits.
The researchers looked at healthy young women while playing Wii Fit games - Step, a step aerobics workout and Hula, a simulated hula-hoop game.
Oxygen consumption, energy expenditure, and other measures of their body's response to exercise were assessed as players advanced through different levels of each game.
At the starting levels, neither game produced high levels of oxygen consumption or perceived exercise intensity.
However, as the women advanced to the intermediate levels, the exercise intensity increased.
In both the games, the intermediate level produced energy expenditure equivalent to a fairly brisk walking pace of 3.5 miles per hour.
Of the two games, the Hula game provided higher oxygen consumption and energy expenditure.
"This could be attributed to the fact that the hula involves more total body movement exercise than step and uses more muscle groups," said the researchers.
At the intermediate level of the Hula game, players could burn approximately five calories per minute.
The study is one of the first to evaluate whether these games really provide sufficient exercise to improve health and fitness.
"The findings suggest that the Wii Fit can be used as an effective activity for promoting physical health in this population," the researchers concluded.
The study appears in the March issue of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.