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Are Wii Fit and Xbox Kinect effective forms of exercise?

By Russ Howe

You've probably noticed the ads with the happy family working out in front of their HDTV, in their perfectly white home, with their latest Wii Fit, Xbox Kinect or Playstation Move software. But today we answer the top question on everybody's lips...

Just how effective are these keep fit games consoles?

As a Fitness Instructor, it would be very easy to condemn the use of home gamin equipment instead of actually going to the gym however I want to be very clear that the benefits of tools such as the Nintendo Wii Fit or Xbox Kinect certainly has it's place in the fitness community. Here are a couple of reasons we believe this software works.

* Have you ever heard anyone say they must lose some weight before they go to the gym? As a trainer, I have, and it drives me crazy. However, if you do lack the confidence to join a public gym, this is now a very god option.

* It's very easy to fit in a workout when you have the tools in your house. Convenience is an understatement.

* The one time cost makes this very affordable. Cheaper than a home gym and a gym membership.

* In two years time the technology will have moved forward an awful lot.

As a trainer myself, I absolutely embrace the direction the gaming industry is taking here. While many less secure personal trainers and fitness instructors would openly dismiss the notion of working out at home as they consider it a potential threat to their own income, or even their job, anyone comfortable with their knowledge and customer base can only see this as a great step forward for exercise and fitness in general.

Make no mistake about it. If you have never really been one for working out or trying to lose weight in the past, then a Wii fit, Xbox Kinect or Playstation Move will provide you with an EXCELLENT starting block. And the technology is moving forward all the time. As a trainer I cannot wait to see where this leads in the next five to ten years.

But is it as effective as physically going to a gym? At the moment the technology is great (and always improving) at providing great body weight workouts, cardio sessions and stretching but is understandably somewhat lacking when it comes to resistance training. Steps have been taken already to move in this direction however (such as the inclusion of resistance bands with EA Sports Active 2, for example). As things stand right now, the gym wins hands down when it comes to weights.

As a trainer I firmly believe that within the next five years we will have the ability to perform a full weights workout via our Wii, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 console at home. The technology is moving so nicely along that this warrants taking a look at what is already available and sticking with it to see how far it is taken.

If you are considering buying a Wii Fit, Xbox Kinect or Playstation Move for keep fit purposes I fully recommend you do so. They are already sound and have proven results but the most exciting aspect is that they get better with every single month which passes by.

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