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It's 12:45am, and I just finished playing five games of Nintendo Wii (pronounced "we") bowling with my dad. Lucky for me, my younger brother just got the game system for his birthday and I'm visiting for the holidays. Not so lucky, of course, for my good sleeping habits.
After a good hour of swinging that virtual bowling ball with all my might, I worked up a bit of a sweat and a mighty confidence boost, since any sport with a ball doesn't seem to work with my monkey-like arms. The combination is really quite ugly.
I thought, "Can video games, perhaps, be not-so-bad for your health after all?" Sure, we've heard the warnings that excessive video game play can lead to laziness and violent or anti-social behavior. But there are also stats that show that interactive games like Dance Dance Revolution, Wii Sports and even Rock Band can improve your motor skills and your health.
With the interactive options that are now available, it might be safe to say that some video games are up for a reevaluation. Check out Wii's selection alone, and you will find games like bowling, tennis, boxing and baseball that require you to mimic the actual motion required in those sports to play the game. Choose to invest in the season's hottest gift, Wii Fit, and you will find even more activities, including yoga, aerobics and strength training that are done on a board that connects to your Wii console. You can even check your body mass index and weight, so that you may track your progress as you spend more time using the game...I mean...workout program.
If that's not enough, the virtual sports experiences also help to hone skills that you may be able to take into the real world. After all, I'm a horrible bowler, but after a few tries on the Wii I realized that a quick flick of the wrist can get your ball moving in the right direction.
The cool thing I learned: An hour of bowling with the Wii can burn between 150 and 240 calories, depending on your weight. And the same goes for taking you're A-game to a real bowling alley, where a 145-pound gal will burn 197 calories.
Have you tried interactive video games, like the Wii? Does the interactive aspect of the games make fitness fun?