VIDEO from Synaptic Digital and Nintendo of America: Active-Play Video Games Provide Gateway to More Physical Activity

American Heart Association and Nintendo Encourage Americans to Get Active

Oct 26, 2010, 11:09 ET from Synaptic Digital from ,Nintendo of America

NEW YORK, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- As the weather cools, many people find it challenging to keep up regular physical activity, an important ingredient for good health. Americans have turned to active-play video games to overcome various barriers to physical activity – from a change of season to lack of time or lack of fun. Some have found that video games that get people up and moving can become a "gateway" to being more physically active.  

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This May, the American Heart Association (AHA) and Nintendo of America teamed up to encourage people to stay active through novel ways, such as using active-play video games like Nintendo's Wii Fit™ Plus and Wii Sports Resort™.

"When people take small steps toward a more physically active lifestyle, those steps can lead to even greater levels of activity," said Dr. Barry A. Franklin, director for Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Laboratories, William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and an AHA volunteer.

In a recent AHA survey, consumers cited lack of time as a main obstacle preventing them from enjoying regular physical activity. Of those who almost never exercise, nearly 40 percent said "exercise is not fun." Additionally, nearly 70 percent of survey respondents said they consider active-play video games as real forms of physical activity.

"We want people to find anything to get them more active, with the idea that a little fun physical activity will lead to more," said Dr. Franklin. "For instance, someone who uses active-play video games for a while might become inspired to branch out into more traditional forms of physical activity."

Jenn Hethcoat, a mother of three children and a blogger for, personally experienced the "gateway effect." She began using Wii Fit in 2008 and continued throughout her pregnancy. Hethcoat once lived a sedentary lifestyle, but is now motivated to be physically active. Her experience has led her to become a spokesperson for Nintendo.

"I started small, but now I'm excited to take walks, ride bikes and just simply be more active with my kids," said Hethcoat. "I even recently participated in a local AHA Start! Heart walk."

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SOURCE Synaptic Digital; Nintendo of America