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ACE Announces Study Findings on Fitness Benefits of Nintendo Wii

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 in ACE Press Releases


San Diego, Calif. (July 22, 2008) - The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s leading authority on fitness and one of the largest fitness certification, education and training organizations in the world, today announced key findings of an exclusive study conducted at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program, on the Nintendo Wii. Investigating the potential fitness benefits of Wii Sports, including baseball, bowling, boxing, golf and tennis games, the ACE study revealed that playing Wii Sports increases heart rate, maximum oxygen intake and perceived exertion, which ultimately translates to calories burned.

“With interactive video games becoming more popular than ever before and Americans now spending an average of 19 to 25 hours per week watching TV and playing video games, we set out to discover whether or not the Wii is truly beneficial as an exercise tool,” said Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., chief science officer. “While they have managed to get traditional gamers off the couch and our results show that Wii Sports offer more of a cardio benefit than sedentary games, we believe there is no substitute for the real sport.”

Coming in at number one in the study, Wii boxing produced the most significant results, approximately 216 calories per 30 minutes, followed by tennis, baseball, bowling and lastly golf, which came in at 159, 135, 117, and 93 calories respectively. None of the Wii games burned more calories than if participating in the actual activity. Actual bowling burns twice as many calories – tennis and baseball also showed significant differences. The Wii’s golf game burns a little less than one calorie per minute than hitting balls at the driving range (3.1 calories per minute vs. 3.9 calories per minute). While playing the Wii does not produce as good a fitness benefit as playing the real sport, the video games proved to burn more calories and increase energy expenditure than playing a sedentary video game.

According to the ACE study, users can burn anywhere between 3.1 calories (golf) to 7.2 calories (boxing) per minute playing Wii Sports. Boxing was the only Wii game tested that would be considered intense enough to maintain or improve cardiorespriratory endurance as defined by accepted industry standards.

The study tested men and women between the ages of 20-29 years old and was led by John Porcari, Ph.D., Karel Schmidt, B.S., and Carl Foster, Ph.D. An ACE-sponsored study examining the new Wii Fit is currently underway.

A complete study summary appears in the July/August 2008 edition of ACE Fitness Matters magazine or on the ACE Web site at http://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/WiiStudy.pdf

The Nintendo Wii, launched in the fall of 2006, is an exergame that that requires users to apply physical movements to manipulate actions of a video game.

About ACE

The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s premier certification, education and training organization, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.

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