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Wii Fit Feature

Author: Darryn King
Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Wii Fit has been on Australian shelves just long enough now for us to assess how successful it is as a fitness tool. There are a lot of gamers and games writers now dismissing the game as a novelty - problem is, let's be honest, regular gamers and games writers aren't especially renowned for their fitness- So, much like one might in a complex yoga position, we decided to rectify the balance. The NL spoke to someone slightly more qualified to evaluate the game's effectiveness: Nathan Canning, 25-year-old personal trainer and new Wii Fit junkie.

So, the big question is, can Wii Fit actually get you fit-
It depends on your predisposition to get fit in the first place. Chances are if you've never ever gone for a jog or done a push-up, Wii Fit will be pretty disappointing.
On the other hand, if you do already exercise on your own initiative occasionally, chances are you'll get the most out of Wii Fit. And obviously it's a lot cheaper than signing up with Fitness First-

Wii Fit uses your BMI as a factor in determining your Wii Fit Age. Is there an issue with that-
There are a couple of issues with that actually. Your BMI is not the best test of your overall fitness, since it doesn't take body composition into account. What you really need to know is how much of your overall weight is fat, how much is muscle, and also take into account things like bone density and frame and things like that. The game won't tell you any of those things unfortunately.

And if you're under 20, your BMI will be all over the place, is that right-
Absolutely, your BMI shifts dramatically until your 20s.
The other thing to realise is that fitness doesn't all come down to how much you weigh. Athletic ability, balance, power, strength, stamina: this is what it comes down to.

So can Wii Fit help you in those areas-
Yeah, sure. The game doesn't push you as hard as a personal trainer, and you won't really be exerting yourself as much as you would at a gym - you won't end up looking like a bodybuilder unfortunately - but it has a good range of exercises. The muscle exercises especially give you a chance to work out your whole body, and this sort of stuff, done regularly, is actually more helpful to you than doing more intense workouts occasionally or sporadically, on the same part of the body over and over again.

Are the yoga and aerobics exercises helpful too-
I have a feeling a lot of people will prefer yoga in Wii Fit over their yoga classes - mainly because it gives you the feeling that you're getting one-on-one time with a personal trainer, who waits for you to catch up with the moves! The key thing in yoga is being comfortable, and where are you more comfortable than in your own living room-
You really have to push yourself to get the most out of an aerobics exercise - it's supposed to be a cardiovascular workout. The Jogging games are probably the best way to get a cardiovascular workout here. You'll actually get a lot more out of jogging round the block for the same amount of time - Wii Fit doesn't require you to propel yourself forward - but it's a good alternative.

So how valuable do you think the game is to someone wanting to work on their fitness-
I think it makes a fantastic supplement for fitness junkies, but should also do a lot to motivate novices. Take your Wii Fit age and your BMI with a grain of salt though - the best test of your fitness is how you feel, immediately afterwards and in the long-term.
It goes without saying that it will work best as part of a more comprehensive fitness routine - and provided you don't just rush out to McDonald's afterwards.