Canadian students have given each other a Wii workout to see if the top-selling videogame console can get couch potatoes to work up a sweat.
Twenty-eight students at Dalhousie University in the East Coast city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, put the Nintendo console up against more traditional forms of exercise to see if playing games could actually be considered a workout.
"I was playing Wii boxing with a friend and noticed how exerting it was," said Justin White, a fourth-year kinesiology student.
"I thought to myself, 'I'm working up a sweat doing this Nintendo thing; I might run with that.' So I put together an outline and the class thought it would be a good project to take on," he said.
White and 27 students in the Applications in Exercise Physiology class tested the impact of playing the Wii boxing game for 30 minutes against a 30-minute walk in a local park and an equal amount of time doing a boxercise video.
Every student did each activity and their heart rate was measured as well as how hard they thought they had worked out for all three activities.
They found that the Wii did get people off the couch and more active but, as a cardiovascular workout, it didn't pass the test.
"If they're looking for cardiovascular fitness, I'd advise them to do something else because it's really not intense enough," White explained in an interview.
"But if they're just looking to lose weight, it's a good way to get started. It can also be a gateway to other things and may get people interested in the actual sports themselves too," he added.
The students said the most energetic exercise was the boxercise video, while the walk through the park was the least demanding.
White, who is thinking about publishing his findings, believes interactive fitness could be a good way to get people to enjoy exercise more and therefore do it more.
"I've always held that the best exercise is exercise that a person will do," Jo Welch, the professor of the class, said in a statement.
"Because different activities appeal to different people, the more options that are readily available, the more likely it is that exercise will occur."
Nintendo plans to release Wii Fit, an exercise game later this year that allows the user to perform a variety of exercises — and tracks changes in their body-mass index. It has already sold more than a million copies in Japan.