ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
CAREGIVING
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Cocaine Spurs Long-Term Change in Brain Chemistry
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Add your Article

Will the Wii Keep You Fit?

"Wii Fit," which lets you use the game platform as an exercise tool, is already a runaway hit in Japan and Britain. It was recently released in the United States.

The newest component of this game is a balance board -- a motion-sensitive platform that looks like a double-wide bathroom scale. It can detect how much weight you place on each foot and which way you're leaning.

Before you start playing, you create a profile, entering your height and age. The game then measures your weight, your body mass index and your "Wii Fit age." Once you've been assessed, you then start your workout, which can include yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games.

Dr. Joseph Mercola comments: Wouldn’t it be ironic if one of the vices that keep many young adults and children sedentary would end up being their exercise savior? Could it be that shelling out $250 for a Nintendo Wii, and another $90 for the Wii Fit game, is the answer to the obesity epidemic facing much of the world?

Well, it certainly can’t hurt.

An average of nine video games were sold every second of the year in 2007, according to the Entertainment Software Association, and a U.S. News and World Report article cites the statistics that 92 percent of children under age 18 play regularly. Adults play video games too, and according to a study by Nielsen//NetRatings, nearly 37 percent of U.S. adults own a video game console.

If even a portion of the time spent sitting in front of a TV playing video games could be transformed into time jumping, doing push-ups, jogging or doing yoga in front of the TV, some serious calories could be burned. In fact, Nintendo’s first “activity-based” video games for the Wii game system, in which players move their limbs as if they were actually participating in real-life versions of boxing matches, dances and other activities, have had positive results. Their popular game Dance Dance Revolution, in which players dance in time with music, can burn as many calories as strenuous exercise.

The added benefit of the Wii Fit is that it gives you real-time feedback to make sure you’re doing exercises properly, and it will record your weight so you can keep track of your progress over time. Then again, as the author of this ABC News piece pointed out, "It should be noted, you don't really need a "Wii Fit" to do any of these workouts."
Video Games Should Support, Not Replace, Regular Exercise

Not doubt about it, these games look like fun. And even though I’m often short on free time, I do plan on trying out the Wii just for kicks, as I really am a kid at heart -- and more importantly technology and exercise are two of my passions. But these games shouldn’t be your sole form of exercise. Even Nintendo makes the point of saying that the Wii Fit is not meant to replace regular workouts. But by all means, if you’re a video-game junkie, use the Wii Fit to jumpstart your own exercise program, or compel your kids to get moving.

But don’t stop there.

I recently explained in detail how to update your “exercise prescription” for the most benefits. In short, a well-rounded exercise program must involve the following three types of exercise, and should take into account exercise intensity and duration for your individual fitness level and goals:

1. Aerobic, endurance workouts (lowers blood pressure)
2. Strength training (helps ease muscle and joint pain)
3. Interval-type training that includes short bursts of activity at very high intensity that is individualized for your specific fitness level (burns fat)

And remember to keep it fun. That has been my primary guiding principle in exercise for some time now, and is why I am using singles tennis to replace much of my running. If you don’t enjoy exercising, you’re unlikely to do it. So if you absolutely love video games and want to include a Wii yoga or strength-training session in your routine, go for it. But keep in mind that if you can easily carry on a conversation while you’re doing this exercise, you’re not going hard enough to give your body the benefits it needs.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with other more “old-fashioned” forms of exercise either, so please don’t feel compelled to purchase a video game console just to get a good workout.

Sources: Ashley Phillips (for ABC News, 5/19/08), Dr. Mercola