Here at Cranky Fitness, we're not generally on the cutting edge of hi-tech gaming and entertainment. However, we've come to understand that there are video games now that allow participants to move parts of their bodies while playing (other than the traditional fingers and forearms).
We think that's groovy! (OK, so maybe we're not on the cutting edge of fashionable slang either. We liked the 60's and 70's just fine, thanks.)
Yet it has come to our attention that some people are counting their kids' video game playing as "exercise."
Cranky Fitness thinks THIS IS WRONG.
This isn't to say active video games aren't a fine idea. If your kids are going to sit indoors in a dark room for hours staring at a screen, it's great if they can engage their bodies and not just their brain cells. They can swing their arms and pretend they're playing baseball. They can toss a fake bowling ball down a fake bowling lane without having to rent smelly shoes. They can dance and play football and even keep the world safe from invading aliens while moving around a little--much better than just sitting on their cute little butts in front of a tv screen.
However, unless you've got kids who are handicapped, or, for some odd reason, elderly, I think playing active video games counts as playing video games. It does not count as exercise.
Should a healthy young ten-year-old spend hour after hour wielding a video game controller instead of hour after hour running around outside? Given the trouble we're having with overweight kids, I don't think so.
Perhaps this only seems strange to me because I'm not a parent. Or because I come from an older, crankier generation that was routinely sent outside to amuse itself. And yeah, maybe we broke a few bones, or required a few stitches, or perhaps were escorted home in a squad car (only once, I swear) but whatever. We survived and the only video game we had was Pong. (Which, just for the record, I LOVED).
I think that unless the video screen is mounted in a room so humongous that it allows the kids to actually round the bases after hitting a home run, or makes them run the length of a football field in order to score a touchdown--in my mind the kids are still playing a video game. They're not participating in a sport.
It's like eating a piece of whole wheat coffee cake. Hooray for picking a healthier pastry! But it's still pastry; you don't get to count it as a vegetable.
So yeah, it's true they're getting closer to actual physical activity with new video games like Wii Fit. (Thanks, Bethany!) But damn it, as far as kids are concerned, I think video games should still just count as entertainment, and we should send their asses outside for real exercise.
Like smoking marijuana, or sex parties, or day trading-- there are certain complicated lifestyle choices that are best reserved for adults. Substituting virtual exercise for real exercise seems like one of them to me.
But what do I know? I don't have kids. Plus I've lived in California most of my life, where outside temperatures and inside temperatures are remarkably similar. What do you guys think about kids getting their exercise via videogames?