Video games let us slay dragons, build cities, play guitar solos, throw no-hitters—and get in shape. Or at least they will May 19, when Nintendo releases Wii Fit, a new game that helps you ski jump, tightrope walk, and hula-hoop yourself into better health.
The Wii console is uniquely designed to get gamers moving. The wireless controllers come with motion-sensing technology that recreates your movement on the screen. For example, in tennis games, the controller serves as a racket, while in driving games, it acts as a steering wheel. Fit ups the ante by adding an electronic balance board that senses your weight and movement. So if you want to bump those pixel soccer balls—or play one of the 40 other included games—get ready to put your back into it. Fit also offers 10-minute aerobic workouts and charts your body mass index over time.
Though Nintendo makes no promises about Fit’s health benefits, studies suggest that playing active Wii games burns at least more calories than sitting on the couch. (Actually, we didn’t need research to figure that out.) And people other than video game enthusiasts are beginning to recognize the benefit. Many hospitals, senior centers, and rehabilitation facilities already use the Wii system to keep their patients and residents active. And if Grandma can do it, so can we. Now if we could only get her hooked on Halo 3….