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Lose Weight By Playing Video Games

POSTED: 10:36 pm EST January 19, 2007
UPDATED: 11:38 pm EST January 19, 2007

A lot of people think video games are one of the reasons that so many American children are overweight.

But one Philadelphia man said they can actually help you lose weight, and he wants to prove you can give more than just your fingers a workout with the Nintendo Wii.

"The boxing game definitely generates the most sweat and calorie burn," said Mickey DeLorenzo, a self-described Nintendo freak since age 5.

Over the years, DeLorenzo has played Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and Game Cube, but he says the new Wii is the first system that has gotten him up off the couch and his weight down.

You probably know by now that the Wii is physically interactive with motion-sensitive controllers.

DeLorenzo and his girlfriend had no idea how interactive it really is.

"After the first 10 minutes or so, we look over at each other. We're panting, we're sweating," he said.

So, DeLorenzo decided to do an experiment -- a little "Wii-search," if you will. He took some before pictures of himself, then fired up the boxing game that came with the console.

"I would get into the game," he said. "I would punch, dodge, I would punch. And between rounds, if the person got knocked down, I'd hop on my toes and get ready."

He was dancing like a butterfly, stinging like a bee -- the whole deal.

It wasn't just boxing, either. He worked in a little bowling and some tennis, too. Slicing and drop-shotting Andre Agassi-style all over his virtual video opponents, DeLorenzo played the Wii hard -- 30 minutes a day for six straight weeks, constantly charting his progress, checking his body fat and measuring his waistline.

For the purpose of the experiment, he didn't change his eating habits.

So, how did he do? "Nine pounds total � 2 percent body-fat loss," he said.

DeLorenzo also dropped two pant sizes. Not too shabby for a video game workout program.

What do trainers think of his routine?

"If you're not the type of person who'll be motivated to get to the gym and you can find motivation in playing Nintendo Wii, good for you," said John Castello of Fitness Works in South Philadelphia.

Obviously, DeLorenzo could have gotten a more total workout at a gym, working in a little iron, but he admits he just doesn't get there enough.

He does make time for gaming though, and his girlfriend calls his plan a home run.

"It's awesome having fun, working out. It's great for girls, too," she said.

DeLorenzo hopes Nintendo picks up on his Wii workout plan.

Judging by the stuff people say on his Web site, there is a huge untapped population of non-traditional gamers who would spend $250 for a "Wii" bit of exercise, reported NBC 10's Tim Furlong.

"I think people are actually buying this as a fitness system, which essentially it's not," DeLorenzo said.

Furlong reported that DeLorenzo wants to be a Wii spokesman, like Jared for the Subway sandwich shop chain, and hears rumors that Nintendo is working on some fitness games for the system.

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