Get Fit With The Wii

Kim Benjet Health Guide
  • We all know that exercise is crucial to controlling diabetes.  It stands with diet as one of the most important factors in regulating blood sugar.  Moderately high blood sugar can be safely and quickly brought down with a walk around the block, a hike through the woods, a game of touch football in the backyard and yes even a game of tennis on the Wii.  A video game helping to lower blood sugar?  I’ve polled friends with children with diabetes who have access to a Wii and we all agree this is our video game of choice.  A few months ago a friend pointed out the beneficial effect the Wii was having on her seven year old son’s blood sugars. Getting that exercise in after eating seemed to prevent the post meal blood sugar spike and now we’ve seen the same thing with Josh.   He even works up a sweat as he plays!

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    I’m an advocate for getting kids outside and exercising in the fresh air, but as the weather grows colder and the days get shorter it can be challenge.  Our family likes to take walks after dinner and our dog really helps to get us out there, but now it’s often dark when we finish eating.  We’re falling away from that exercise routine and it’s increasingly easier to just put on the television and forgo exercise. But enter the Wii.  

     

    Put on the tennis game and we’re bouncing around the room.  The Wii’s motion sensitive controller has players simulating real athletic moves – you really swing the virtual racquet, baseball bat and oh, those boxing moves! Boxing had my arms and shoulders aching the next day. Dancing with the Stars had us all moving – and laughing hysterically at our family’s apparent rhythm challenges.  My experience is limited to sports related Wii games.  I haven’t seen or tried the virtual experience games like Star Wars, Mario, High School Musical and the assortment of teen and adult rated games so I cannot speak to any of those, but I like all the sports games I’ve seen.

     

    I hope to try Wii Fit, the exercise activity designed for the system. Its balance board weighs you and determines your body mass index and then offers a range of activities from yoga to jogging to snowboarding.  I’m curious if any readers have found virtual activities and favorite Wii games that have the added bonus of lowering their blood sugars. 

     

    Any ideas for where we should put virtual games to help get our increasingly overweight and sedentary population moving?  I’ve heard of Wiis installed in nursing homes and rehabilitations centers.   Maybe fast food chains should put some Wii stations in the restaurants to help counter the challenges of their high fat, marginally nutritious menu.  Eat a Big Mac, and then play a round of Wii tennis?  Our dog is the only family member losing out on exercise time. She misses her evening walk and she is a bit frightened by the jumping around in front of the television set.  Maybe Nintendo will come up with a Wii for dogs and we can take her on a virtual walk.   

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    One thing is for sure, we’ll keep moving with the Wii this winter!

Published On: September 22, 2008