Are Sports Video Games Real Workouts?

Are you wondering whether the last tournament of Nintendo Wii bowling caused any actual burning of the calories?  This is a very common question that has made many people to engage in many different studies so as to find out the truth about the issue.  The Nintendo Wii system of gamming was release in the year 2006.  Its effectiveness or otherwise on the burning of calories has been debated in various different academic journals.


The goods news is that; most of the researchers have come to the  unanimous agreement  that  the  exer-gaming  really does  burn  considerably more  calories  than the playing of  the traditional video games. This is however does not amount to saying much about the issue at hand.  The real question remains; can the sports video games burn sufficient calories so as to improve the outcomes of fitness and health.  Does encouraging the kids to play more of these games inspire than to get out and try the real action or it simply makes them to get hooked in to the video games.


From some certain viewpoints, the sports video games are actually doing very good job because they simulate the real thing.

An example is the 2007 reporting by the New England Journal of Medicine that a 29 year old suffered from tendinitis in the shoulders   after playing Wii tennis.  Some other injuries that have been reported include 8 years old girl that was reported to suffer from head trauma after she was accidentally hit by her brother while swinging the controller.  In 2010, it was also reported that 14 year old   girl suffered from fracture after she fell off the sports video game’s Fit balance board.


In order to find out the truth about the levels of fitness, the researchers have engaged in various studies so as to compare the expenditures of energy of the different tasks.  The researchers use metabolic equivalents of the task (met).  The quit sitting on the sofa needs only one met. Playing tennis requires about 8 mets within the same period of time.


A study upon 51 students that was conducted in 2010 by the University of Waterloo in Ontario came to the conclusion that the traditional tennis video-game version required about 1.2 mets which is just slightly above the 1 met that is required for the resting on sofa.  The study also found that; on the other hand, the Wii Sports tennis burned on average 5.4 mets.  These study findings were consistent with some other earlier studies. These findings are based on the fact that; just like the real sports, the energy that you burn is highly dependent on how frequently and vigorously you play the game.


A good example and illustration of this is the 2007 study which involved 11 subjects.  It was found out that Wii tennis required about 2.5 mets. This is far below the agreed average of 5.4 mets.  In another 2009 study, the findings of which were published in the Obesity, it was found out that the active video games such as Wii bowling and Dance Dance Revolution can be compared to walking of moderate intensity.

Is There Any Benefit To Strengthening My Breathing Muscles?

It makes sense to say that; in order to ensure that you do not get out of your breath you need to improve the breathing muscles.  When you are inhaling, you use the chest wall muscles and the diaphragm so as to suck in the air.

You then relax the muscles so as to push the air back out.  After exercises that are strenuous, these muscles may sometimes fatigue.

This observation prompted Alison McConnell, a British researcher at the London’s Brunel University to develop an “inspiratory muscles trainer” that is referred to as Powerbreathe.

This is a power device which is very similar to the inhaler that is used by the asthmatic patients.  It is designed purposely to strengthen those muscles that are used in the inhaling in almost the same way in which the weights are used in the strengthening of the muscles of your arms.

If you take about 30 breaths through this device twice everyday, you will gradually and slowly increase the resistance.

It will in short strengthen your muscles, increase the endurance and decrease the incidences of feeling out of breath.


There is only one problem with this.  The initial studies by different researchers did not find any significant benefits of training of the inspiratory muscles despite the fact that the subjects that were involved in the studies reported experiencing reduction in the feeling of out of breath.  After the testing of the classic laboratory measures of the aerobic endurance without success, most of the researchers came to the conclusion that the breathing is not one of the limiting factors in the endurance.

It is important to note that; instead, the limits are determined by the ability of making use of the oxygen.

The only exception is the people that are suffering from conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in which this form of respiratory exercises has for very long time been standard.


Most of the athletes are seriously concerned with the way in which they perform in the competitions rather than in the laboratory.  Various recent studies have tended to demonstrate there are small though significant benefits in some sports such as rowing, cycling and swimming.

For example, study that  was conducted  in 2010 in New Zealand and which involved  16  competitive simmers  that were  put on the  Powerbreathe training program for six weeks found out that  8 did the  proper thing while the other 8  used  device that  was the same but they  were  given program of training  that did not cause  the strengthening of  their inspiratory muscles.


The swimmers are in general good candidate for this form of training because of two reasons; they must control their rates of breathing in a way that it matches their stroke. Secondly, they must overcome the pressure of water such that they expand their chest after inhaling air.

There are some theories that attend to explain why this training works.

The simplest is that breathing muscles that are stronger allow the pumping in of more oxygen when one is tired.