College Offers Credit for Playing Wii Sports

University of Houston offers class in video game - minus the couch

By Holly LaFon
|  Tuesday, Sep 8, 2009  |  Updated 12:36 PM EDT
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Couch potatoes no more! The Wii Fitt is the latest must-have for fitness buffs. This video games meets trainer offers more than 40 activities to challenge users in areas like yoga, aerobics, strength training and balance.

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Video games, traditionally the antithesis and frequent inhibitor of working out, are being used by the University of Houston as a key component of a physical education class offering this fall semester: Wii Performance (PEB 4197). 

Nintedo Wii differs from traditional video games in that an avatar mimics the movement of the player’s body, rather than moving at the direction of mere thumbs. Some Wii games can inadvertently result in a quality work out, while others are designed for it. 

UH plans to use games that will teach posture, center of balance, and to improve knowledge of health and fitness. Students will also learn basic principles of maintaining a healthy body weight through proper nutrition.

"Our department conducts a host of research into the epidemic of obesity, not only its root causes, but ways to combat it and the diseases related to it," said Jessica Wheeler, program coordinator.  "Using the Wii games can be both fun and an effective tool.  We anticipate that many students will want to take this class."

The class will use the games Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort and the remarkably fun and calorie burning Wii Dance Dance Revolution.

However, students will have to take real-life quizzes on health and nutrition, and track their calorie intake and the activities they engage in.

The class will probably attract a wider range of students who might opt for World of Warcraft and Taco Bell but not otherwise be interested in a fitness class.

Holly LaFon has written for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.

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