A Nintendo funded study performed by researchers from the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo, Japan showed that playing certain Wii video games provides physical exertion similar to that of moderate exercise. The researchers used a special monitoring chamber to measure the Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) of the games and activities inside Wii Sports and Wii Fit Plus.
From the statement by the American Heart Association:
Researchers used a metabolic chamber to measure the energy expenditure of 12 men and women, 25 to 44 years old, as they pantomimed basic moves and motions of these sports and physical activities with motion-sensing controls. The open-circuit indirect metabolic chamber consisted of an airtight room (20,000 liters or 15,000 liters). The metabolic chamber method could replicate the conditions under which the participants enjoy the games in their home, because they were free from apparatus used to measure energy expenditure (EE) when playing the game.
Nine activities had less than 2 METs. Twenty-three activities had 2-3 METs. Nine activities had 3-4 METs. Five activities had more than 4 METs.
The intensities of yoga and balance exercise were significantly lower than those of resistance and aerobic exercise, but these exercises are effective in improving flexibility and in fall prevention, researchers said.
More from AHA: Playing active video games can equal moderate-intensity exercise …