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Marathon runner loves Wii Fit
May '08
Can the new Wii Fit by Nintendo get people off the couch and exercising in a way that could truly improve cardiovascular health? That's the question that marathon runner and NuMetrex marketing director, Meg Burich, set out to answer yesterday when the product hit stores near the company's Delaware headquarters.

Wearing her NuMetrex Racer Tank, which features special heart sensing fibers that are knit comfortably into the stretchy fabric of the shirt, Burich stepped onto the Wii Balance Board to test the running, hoola hoop and step exercises offered in the game's “aerobic” category. Her heart rate was sensed by the shirt, transmitted to her wristwatch, and later downloaded onto a computer for analysis.

The results showed the Wii Fit workouts did elevate Burich's heart rate beyond its normal ambient rate of 60 beats per minute, ranging between 90-100 on the step exercise, 90-110 for the hoola hoop, and up to a maximum of 130 during the running program. Comparatively, Burich's heart rate measured between 145-155 during her running of the Philadelphia Marathon in November 2007.

“For an avid runner, the Wii workout offers the equivalent of a walking warm-up or a low-to-moderate exertion run on a flat surface,” said Dr. Alinda Perrine, a personal trainer and heart rate expert who offers heart rate coaching on the www.numetrex.com website.

“But for someone who is sedentary, overweight, or not exercising regularly, the Wii could elevate heart rate enough to offer some cardiovascular benefits. It's important to monitor your own heart rate to see if the exercise is improving your fitness.”

Studies have shown that the majority of people prefer to exercise in their own home where no one else can see them, said Burich, which makes the Wii Fit a good fit for those who are uncomfortable in a fitness environment. “The important thing is to get started. Get off the couch and get your heart pumping.”

Textronics Inc

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