Wii Balance Board: Not New, but Still an Effective Healthcare Tool

Generally when you see a new post on the internet it is about some new app, gadget, or tool to help us improve our health.  In breaking with this tradition I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at an old tool that I have enjoyed and found beneficial.

The Nintendo Wii saved its manufacture from leaving the gaming market forever.  It was the first platform to get you off your butt and moving around when you play games.  They proved to be a trend setter as the other major gaming systems have no developed similar technology.

One of the greatest accessories to the Wii is the Wii balance board which has the ability to turn even traditional gaming into a workout.  While I guess you don’t technically HAVE to get off the couch to use it, I’m not sure it would work very effectively, if at all.

A nice thing about buying the Wii balance board is that it comes with a game, Wii Fit Plus, that can keep you occupied for hours.  There are two general areas that you can use to workout, one that is exercise focused, and another that is game-based.

In the exercise arena you go through all kinds of traditional exercises such as pushups, planks, crunches, and a ton more.  There are also numerous yoga poses that you can perform.  All of these exercises can be performed individually, or you can set them up in any order you choose to perform a full workout with or without breaks as you may choose.

As you repeatedly use the game, the Wii tracks your progress monitoring such things as your weight, bmi, and even your balance.  While I am not totally sure how accurate those measurements are, I found that seeing those numbers kept me motivated to use the game regularly, and use it for longer periods of time. 

Depending on how involved you want to get you can even input outside exercise that you perform so that the Wii can track those calories burned as well.

On those days that you just don’t feel like working out you can opt to play a series of games that improve your cardio, strength, and balance.  You may not think that playing games would be that much of a workout, but I have worked myself into quite a sweat numerous times.  It is not the same type of workout as a regular run or swim, but it will burn some calories.

Like many other games it also tracks your scores and I found myself doing the activities over and over just trying to set new high scores.  Before I knew it I had burned hundreds of calories, and lots of time.

Besides Wii FIt Plus there are numerous other game makers that have developed workout games.  One of my favorite game makers, EA Games, has the EA Active games which can be done with or without the balance board.  The Biggest Loser also has their own Wii game.

Besides workout games, there are a bunch of other games that can use the Wii Balance Board.  Most of these games are board sports such as skate boarding or snow boarding, but not exclusively.  The real genius of these games is that they get people exercising instead of just wasting their time playing games.

I was talking to my brother about health related games and apps, and I realized that people don’t really care what the side effects of a game are as long as the game is fun.  In some cases these effects are seen as negative such as too much violence, but fun games that also get you moving would do a lot to help turn the tide of unhealthy, overweight children, and adults, in America.