Are Video Games A Weight Loss Fad?


Americans are always trying to find the best and sometimes easiest ways to work out without going to the gym.  One of the more recent trends is using your game console, whether it’s Xbox 360, Wii, or PS3 etc., you can now exercise using video games.  Nintendo’s Wii Fit, EA Canada’s Sports Active, Ubisoft’s Your Shape Fitness Evolved, and The Biggest Loser’s Ultimate Workout are just a few examples of exercise games.  I personally have never used any sort of exercise game due to my mixed feelings-whether they actually do help with weight loss/staying in shape or it’s just a gimmick.

I think that a person can lose the weight, but they have to be determined in order for it to actually work.  I assume that people who have found results change their eating habits as well to increase the weight loss because a person can’t simply lose weight with exercise alone.  Maybe in the beginning of their journey but then the body gets used to the weight causing it to plateau.  But with the help of good eating habits they can continue their journey.  I wanted to know if there were any true and honest answers from consumers, so I turned to the good old Internet for help.

Wii Fit is one of the most popular exercise video games since its release in May 2008.  It comes with game a balance board that helps to track your weight while you exercise performing one of the activities such as yoga or even running.While searching for some answers I came across an article from 2009 on, The Truth About Wii Fit and Weight Loss by Bonnie Ruberg.  She too was searching for an answer.  In her article she uses the opinion of managing editor of the gaming blog, Kotaku, Brian Crecente and University of Mississippi’s professor of exercise science, Scott Owens.  She uses their input to let her audience decide if it is worth buying the game or passing on it.

Brain Crecente believes Wii Fit is just another fad that will die out.  He claims to not know many people who have bought the game and use it routinely.  Crecente is suggesting that in order for a person to see results is to dedication themselves and real physical effort.  However, Wii Fit creator Shigeru Miyamoto stated the purpose of the game wasn’t really about people losing weight but more about it expanding the market of video games.  After only reading far into the article, it really influenced me to lean towards not investing in any exercise games at all.  It gave me the feeling that if I do buy it and nothing happens, my hopes of it help keeping me in shape are crushed.

Owens performed a six-month study to give a Wii Fit to a family would increase their physical fitness.  He let the family use it for three months then took it away for three months.  The results came in and he note there weren’t significant changes.  The time playing the game went from an average of twenty-two minutes in the beginning of the study down to an average of four minutes the last couple of weeks.  I thought after reading the article and the results that my mind was made up to not buy the game, unfortunately it wasn’t.  According to some readers of the article, recently from 2011, overall enjoy Wii Fit claiming to have lost weight or know of someone who lost the weight.  I did notice they say in order for you to see results you have to stick with it and really work at it.  Once again I was confused.

I continued my search and found Game Informer’s website with an article review on EA Sports Active 2, developed by EA Canada.  The Kinect comes as a bundle, is controller-free and includes a hear monitor that displays heart rate levels on screen during the workout.  The pros of the game are having two programs starting from lower to higher intensity: a three-week cardio program to build stamina and a nine-week full-body conditioning.  The player competes a wide range of events from a foot race to protecting a soccer goal, and much more.  The player’s stats of calories burned and total workout time are also included at the end of each workout.

The cons are having spotty detection allowing players to cheat by standing still, which might seem fun to cheat but it won’t help lose the weight.  There are a few technical problems such as lagging in jumping during the bike sequence, missed verbal cues from the trainer, and if the player moves faster than the avatar it won’t be able to keep up.  Aside from those glitches the game over all seemed to be a better option if one is looking for a high intense exercise game.

Finally my mind was made up.  I think some of these exercise games are a good thing; it just depends on the person who uses them.  If the person is determined to use the game, lose weight, and change their diet then these exercise games could work.  As for me, I might buy one in the future.

  6 comments for “Are Video Games A Weight Loss Fad?

  1. January 31, 2013 at 12:56 am

    The idea that the individual, not the product, determines the effectiveness of weight training is simply the truth. Most New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside within the first month according to former gym owner and UMW men’s basketball coach Rod Wood. It’s how the gyms make their money. A gym which can only support 60 individuals will take club entry fees from ten times that many people knowing that only a handful will commit for any length of time. I can’t help but feel that the same could be said of the fitness video game genre. After a while the appeal will wear off for most people.

  2. adavis7
    January 31, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I disagree with the thought that the fad of weight loss games will wear off. Or I would at least argue that the sheen of the games will wear off anytime soon which would make it less of a fad. I personally know several people who religiously use fitness games such as WiiFit and swear by the game. This post however fails to note games which only have the side effect of physical fitness and weight loss rather than the goal.

    Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) for example has many of the same side effects of traditional group aerobic workouts without the trip to the gym. While I do not think that DDR alone can cause weight loss or physical fitness, it is certainly a good first step along with proper diet to living a healthy life. DDR adds an element of good natured showing off while still forcing players to exercise vigorously and perhaps even causing sore muscles.

    • chocobunnysk
      February 5, 2013 at 12:25 am

      Too bad the popularity of DDR has faded. One thing to note though is that rhythm games such as DDR only counts as cardio, and only works out some muscle. While it is a good tool to lose weight with, you have to mix in other forms of exercise if you truly wish to be fit. Or get creative while playing DDR. Now if anyone could tell me where I can acquire a specific dance pad by the renowned but out of business Cobalt Flux…

  3. darlingchaos
    January 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I’m going to go ahead and argue that video games aren’t exactly going to change the way we lose weight; instead, I would posit that we’re affixing weight loss into our gaming system… if that makes sense in any way. If you think about the evolution of video games, from their early arcade onsets to the high def phenomenons we have today, the next step in that evolution doesn’t exactly scream “weight loss!” to me. I’m thinking more along the lines that we have this obsession with keeping in shape and losing weight, and we like video games–and other forms of entertainment–enough to try to incorporate the two. Hate working out? Hate it less by doing it while you watch tv, or play a game, or engage your brain in some other way while you’re engaging your body. If you’re going to argue that they’re a fad in that they won’t stick around, well, it’s possible. But I think for those that approach it from the Weight Loss Plus Entertainment side, as opposed to the Game That Guarantees Skinniness side are more likely to see desirable results.

  4. Jonathan Smith
    February 4, 2013 at 6:29 am

    There are many things available in market for people who want to lose their weight. For example exercise video, meal replacement diet and many more. Every weight loss thing has its own usefulness.

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