I really thought Wii Fit was a gimmick. And those phys ed classes that used Dance Dance Revolution to get sedentary teenagers jumping around? Talk about a waste of taxpayer money. Then my kids bought Wii Fit this weekend and I was absolutely, instantly impressed.
Wii Fit is a game for the Nintendo Wii that gets players competing with each other and themselves to reduce BMI (Body Mass Index), increase strength and coordination, and improve stamina. Not only were all of my kids (ages 6-16) able to follow along with the instructions, but they were all completely engaged in exercising.
It seems relatively gimmick-free as well; participants are simply exercising in a variety of ways, largely focused on cardiovascular fitness and coordination. Whether they are following a boxing workout or trying to unlock the next level of step aerobics, the interesting animations, encouraging trainers, and largely useful feedback seemed to do the trick. The program also tracks progress and allows for goal setting in terms of weight gain or loss.
My two kids who are normally fairly active liked the challenge and my oldest was particularly intense in the competition the game engendered. My two, well, less active kids were sweating and working to beat each other the moment it came out of the box.
At $90 US, I don't know how much actual sports medicine went into Wii Fit. What I do know is that my kids spent the last weekend of their summer exercising. They each (with the exception of my youngest) put in at least two hours a day of moving, much of it enough to get their heart rates up and have them break a good sweat.
I have to say, with the relatively low price of the Wii, this could be a really nice addition to physical education programs looking for new ways to get the kids who don't look forward to gym engaged.