Comparison Between Nintendo Wii Fit Aerobics and Traditional Aerobic Exercise in Sedentary Young Adults

Douris, PC, McDonald, B, Vespi, F, Kelley, NC, and Herman, L.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
26(4): 1052–1057, 2012

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Abstract:


Exergaming is becoming a popular recreational activity for young adults. The purpose was to compare the physiologic and psychological responses of college students playing Nintendo Wii Fit, an active video game console, vs. an equal duration of moderate-intensity brisk walking. Twenty-one healthy sedentary college-age students (mean age 23.2 ± 1.8 years) participated in a randomized, double cross-over study, which compared physiologic and psychological responses to 30 minutes of brisk walking exercise on a treadmill vs. 30 minutes playing Nintendo Wii Fit “Free Run” program. Physiologic parameters measured included heart rate, rate pressure product, respiratory rate, and rating of perceived exertion. Participants’ positive well-being, psychological distress, and level of fatigue associated with each exercise modality were quantified using the Subjective Exercise Experience Scale. The mean maximum heart rate (HRmax) achieved when exercising with Wii Fit (142.4 ± 20.5 b·min−1) was significantly greater (p = 0.001) compared with exercising on the treadmill (123.2 ± 13.7 b·min−1). Rate pressure product was also significantly greater (p = 0.001) during exercise on the Wii Fit. Participants’ rating of perceived exertion when playing Wii Fit (12.7 ± 3.0) was significantly greater (p = 0.014) when compared with brisk walking on the treadmill (10.1 ± 3.3). However, psychologically when playing Wii Fit, participants’ positive well-being decreased significantly (p = 0.018) from preexercise to postexercise when compared with exercising on the treadmill. College students have the potential to surpass exercise intensities achieved when performing a conventional standard for moderate-intensity exercise when playing Nintendo Wii Fit “Free Run” with a self-selected intensity. We concluded that Nintendo Wii Fit “Free Run” may act as an alternative to traditional moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in fulfilling the American College of Sports Medicine requirements for physical activity.

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association

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