Can The Nintendo Wii Help Us Cut Down on Gym Membership Costs?

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-05-2416

What are some cheap ways to exercise?

I’d like a way to keep fit and burn calories so I could drop a bit of weight and to stay healthy. So I thought about joining a gym. The only problem is that I typically become pretty self conscious when exercising in a public space. Plus, there are also the costs, which are ongoing. Not only is there an application fee to think about, you also have to pay a monthly fee to keep going. Joining a gym is often a top resolution for many when they think of ringing in the new year, but the reality is that over time, the commitment fades. Is it a surprise that when you ask people about their extraneous costs (e.g. the fat in their budgets), they often cite magazine subscriptions and unused gym memberships?

How Nintendo Wii Sports & Wii Fit Cut Down on Gym Membership Costs!

So I did the next best thing –- I invested in a Nintendo Wii instead. My spouse and I got the basic console with one remote and a Nunchuk, along with the Wii Sports disc that came with it. So it was the most basic and the cheapest thing we could buy –- and I believe it was around half the price of a gym membership over the course of a year. We also had the added free bonus of a Wii Sports Resort disc rolled in there as well.

Nintendo Wii SportsImage from FallingSky.
Here’s where to pick up a Wii and its accessories.

I’ll admit that since then, we’ve also “invested” in the Wii Fit; but I managed to work a few fair muscles simply by trying out the Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, even without the Wii Fit thrown into the mix. In my humble opinion the Wii is much much better than a gym membership for lots of reasons:

1. With the Wii, your budget is flexible. After the initial purchase, you can invest in other games and discs as and when you can afford it. So although our initial purchase added up to the equivalent of a few months of a gym membership, it will pay dividends and work out cheaper in the end.

2. You can get started right away. You can get a good workout just from the Wii Sports module that comes with the console. I love the fact that you get a basic disc with boxing, tennis, baseball and a couple of other easier sports thrown in for free. I’m addicted to the tennis and I get a good workout from attempting the boxing game as well.

3. You can work out in private! I don’t feel self conscious about exercising because I’m at home. It doesn’t matter what I look like and I don’t have to feel like I’m competing with everyone at the gym. What could be better than that?

4. There’s a lot to try out. I can do all kinds of exercises I wouldn’t normally do –- and they’re fun! I’ve been cycling; I’ve had a go at swordplay and all manner of other sports on the Wii Sports Resort. A couple of hours on that and the calories are burning without me even realizing it. I’ve toned up a bit already!

5. It is great family entertainment as well as good exercise. Whenever we get family or friends to drop by, we all get on the Wii to have a good laugh. What other game allows you to do that and also lets you get fitter at the same time?

6. Exercising at home is convenient. I spend way more time on the Wii than I would at the gym — and I only need to go downstairs and turn it on to get started. In fact, I often find it a challenge to postpone my time on the Wii until I finish work for the day. As someone who works at home, I can always stop and get an hour’s worth of exercise during the afternoon and then carry on working afterwards.

See, playing video games can have its benefits! So what do you think? If you want a great all body workout without the downsides of the gym, you could always pick up a Wii.

Contributing Writer: Allison W.

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Stella May 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Another cheap exercise option is walking. You can use the time to decompress and meditate, partner up with a walking buddy to motivate and keep each other accountable, or invest in an iPod or other MP3 player and either use tunes to keep pace to or multitask with an audio book.

Ace @ May 24, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Great points! I think what’s also really great about the Wii is that it’s fun! Doing something that you enjoy is a great way to keep yourself motivated and on track.

Veronica May 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Don’t forget that most libraries have Wii games that you can check out for free. My county library seems to get them pretty quickly after they are released from Nintendo.

Josh Stewart May 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm

My sister had a Nintendo which she found very useful and she had a wii in their home for entertainment. She said that her kids and her whole family really enjoyed playing games.

ConsumerMiser May 24, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Nice article. I bought a Wii for the kids and we played the Wii Sports for a long time. We don’t use the Wii much now, but I think I may buy the Wii fit at some point. How much is it, about $70 or is it more? I wonder if they have it at the local library? I think Veronica’s suggestion of renting games (and maybe the Wii Fit???) from the library is a great idea for some frugal such as myself. I wonder if Blockbuster rents it? –ConsumerMiser

Impulse Magazine May 24, 2010 at 8:09 pm

It is definitely helping more people get in shape. They still need to go to the gym though.

Panda Mike May 25, 2010 at 9:29 am

Not sure you can actually work-out with a Wii.

If you are looking to do cardio, you can run or take a walk outside.

If you want to lift weight, the Wii won’t do much for you…

I actually have a Wii and a Gym membership and I couldn’t replace my membership with any Wii games…

Silicon Valley Blogger May 25, 2010 at 10:15 am

I think that you should stick with whatever works for you. Some of us like to do our exercise in the comfort of our own home rather than do stuff outside (don’t ask why… 😉 ). I also think that any physical activity that helps you break into a sweat is better than nothing. So if the Wii helps you achieve that, then more power!

I won’t join a gym though, it’s not my style either. Now it would be great if I can set up my own gym room at home! 🙂

James May 25, 2010 at 11:05 am

The Wii has been extremely popular since coming out. I actually own one and it is very convenient when I can’t make it to the gym (because i kept my membership). You have so much fun competing in those games that you get engulfed in them and don’t feel the impact until the morning.

James May 26, 2010 at 8:14 am

You make some really good points here and i totally agree.

But to play the other side for a second.

How many adults that are weighing the option of a gym actually think about wanting to buy the Wii and use this as there work in lieu of a gym membership? My guess is very few.

My guess would be that the Wii comes in hand for adults who have kids and take advantage of certain games that promote health.

Brady May 26, 2010 at 11:40 am

Why not give the kids who stay inside and who never go out a chance to be at least a little more physically active?

Lazy Man and Money May 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I’m pretty amazing in the Wii ski slaloms, but I’m not much use at the rest of the Wii Sports. It’s been gathering a little dust in our house though — not sure why.

Richard May 29, 2010 at 5:15 am

I love my Wii Fit. I was skeptical about getting started but after the first session i was hooked. I could not believe i was building up a sweat from playing a game. It is fantastic.

Amey May 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

In theory it sounds like a good idea, but, to be honest, you can’t really compare a gym membership and all it offers to that of a Wii.

I have tried out Wii stuff (both games and Wii Fit), my sister, and my 55 year old mother and none of us broke a sweat. So Wii can’t really substitute for a real exercise.

If you really want to save money, then don’t even bother buying a Wii and just go jogging and running around the block, I’m sure it will burn the same amount of calories.

For a real way to cut down gym membership costs, go out and get a pair of 10 and 20 lbs dumbells for under $50. Cheaper than a Wii and can actually get a real workout.

Karen @ GamingDevices November 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm

You can do more than save money at the gym with a Wii, I know people who have slashed their cable TV bills and quit going out to the movies (that’s around $60 for 4 people with popcorn etc).

I find the keep Wii Fit great, it’s a lot of fun and I hate gyms anyway.

You can rent the games to see if you like them first. True it’s no substitute for actually taking a real walk, but what’s wrong with having a bit of fun at home these days, with the economy the way it is.

tom December 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I have trouble believing you can get a full workout with the Wii, but it might be better than dealing with some gym contracts.

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