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A Wii Bit of Physical Activity
Written by August 10, 2009

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

burn calories
physical activity
video games
A Wii Bit of Physical Activity

“Boy, I am really getting a good workout playing Wii Tennis,” a friend was heard to say.  Oh really?


According to a small study completed at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, subjects who played tennis using the Wii video game platform burned calories at a rate only about 35% less than a person playing a real tennis game.   So in 30 minutes, Wii Tennis burns about 159 calories versus 243 for the real deal.  Here are other Wii/sport comparisons:


Calories Burned in 30 minutes


Actual Sport

Wii Sport














The study hasn’t been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal but was described in ACE FitnessMatters, the magazine for members of the American Council on Exercise.  Click here for a link to the article.  Nonetheless, it provides some preliminary confirmation that by mimicking the movement of the real sport these video games can increase calorie expenditure. The key, mind you is that the game movement must be just like the real sport movement.  Simple flicking of the wrist instead of a full arm swing won’t burn many calories.

Couple these new data and the study we told you about in the “Let the (Video) Games Begin” blog with the fact that the video gaming is a growing multi-billion dollar industry AND that we have an inactivity epidemic and what do you get???  Ka-ching, ka-ching!!  In fact, exergaming is a whole new segment of video game market aimed at using technology to promote physical activity.  Check out the blog for the ExerGame Lab at State University New York – Cortland for insights into this field.

Exergames may make physical activity more fun, convenient, and motivating for some people.  But there is one thing missing – fresh air.  So don’t let active video games be your only calorie-burning activities.  Enjoy the real sports in the real out of doors.

Do you use active video games in your home?

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