Do you like to play video games? If you’re like many kids, your answer was probably a loud “Yes!” And why not? Today’s video games are totally awesome!

From time to time, though, you may have adults tell you that you’re spending too much time playing video games. They might also say you’re spending too much time in front of the television. Are they right? It depends.

Adults — especially parents — often keep track of how much time you spend watching television and playing video games. Why? They’re just worried about you and want to make sure you’re not doing things that are unhealthy.

Can watching television or playing video games be unhealthy? Yes, they certainly can…if you spend too much time doing these things instead of other things you need to do. For example, if you play video games instead of doing your homework, your grades could suffer.

Also, playing too many video games might mean you’re spending too much time on the couch. If you stay on the couch and play video games for hours and hours, you might not be getting the amount of exercise that you need.

It all depends upon what video games you’re playing. If you spend hours playing games that only require you to use a few buttons on your controller, then your thumbs may be in great shape. However, the rest of your body might not be getting the exercise it needs.

Playing video games doesn’t have to be just a sedentary activity, though. Thanks to exergaming (that’s a term for games that combine EXERcise and GAMING), you can now play video games and get exercise at the same time.

Exergaming uses technology that tracks your body’s movements and reactions. From running and hula hooping to dancing and skiing, there are many different types of video games available today that can help you exercise while you’re having fun playing video games.

Although Nintendo’s Wii Fit and Microsoft’s Kinect games have popularized exergaming recently, exergaming actually dates back to the late 1980s. However, it wasn’t until Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution became popular that exergaming really took off. Today, exergaming games and accessories account for over $2 billion in sales each year.

Don’t go and brag to your parents that playing video games can be healthy just yet, though. Experts who have studied exergaming have found that traditional methods of exercise (running, biking and playing sports) are better for you than just exergaming. While exergaming may be better than playing sedentary games, you still need to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of quality exercise that your body needs!

 

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    • You’re up bright and early, Nick! We appreciate your enthusiasm for checking out today’s Wonder of the Day® and for being the first to comment…way to go! :-)

    • Dude this article so got off topic in the last 3 paragraphs. All it was talking about was that “exergaming’ was good for you.

    • You’re so awesome for wanting to be the first to comment on today’s Wonder, Anthony! Wonder Friend, Nick, got his comment in just a few minutes before you did, but that’s OK! We think you ROCK for getting up early and visiting Wonderopolis! You and Nick BOTH think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about pen pals! We can’t wait to see if you guys are right! :-)

  1. I think today’s wonder of the day is great and I guessed it right!?!?!?! I have no clue what tomorrow’s wonder of the day will be?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    • Way to go, Mr. A! We’re proud of you for using the clues from yesterday’s Wonder to help you correctly guess what today’s Wonder would be about! Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hi, Natasha! Thanks so much for sharing your views on video games with us today! We’re glad you visited today’s Wonder and hope you learned something new! :-)

    • We’re certain there are LOTS of Wonder Friends who would agree with you on that point, Lilly! Thanks for sharing your comment with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • We’re so glad to hear from you today, Rahul! Thanks for letting us know what you think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about! :-)

    • We hope you’re right, Jesse! We really want to learn more about pen pals! Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Well, thank YOU for the awesome comment, Kelsey! We’re super glad you left us a comment today to let us know you visited this Wonder about video games, and we really appreciate you trying to guess what tomorrow’s Wonder will be about! :-)

  2. We loved the video today! We also learned two new words, exergaming and sedentary and what they mean. Thank you for sharing this with us. We could really connect to the wonder because most of us like to play video games.

    • Happy Friday, Mrs. Phillips’ WONDERful Class! What an awesome comment you left for us! We’re glad you guys liked exploring today’s Wonder, and that you enjoyed the video and learning new Wonder Words! :-)

    • Thanks for taking a guess at the WONDER for tomorrow, Kiahna! We appreciate your comment and hope you have a SUPER day! :-)

  3. Video games can be good when we exercise. We can learn how to play a sport. Video games can be bad when we play them too much. This is what we learned.

    • Those are GREAT facts about video games, Room 32 Kindergarten! Thank you for sharing what you guys learned by exploring today’s Wonder of the Day® together! :-)

  4. I think video games are good for you because they keep you entertained and sometimes they can be educational. I also think that they can be bad for you because they can be very violent and they will make you do bad actions in reality (sometimes).

    • That’s a GREAT way to look at video game playing, Arianna! We like that you described both sides of the issue…way to go! :-)

    • We’re so glad to hear that, Taryn! Thanks for being such a WONDERful Wonder Friend and letting us know that you love visiting Wonderopolis! :-)

  5. We learned that there are some video games that can be good for you! Who knew!! Some video games can provide exercise for your body or mind.
    However, there are still some video games that are not so good for our minds, or body.

    • Thank you for leaving us such a super comment today to let us know what you learned about video games, Mrs. Shoemaker’s class! We’re so glad you explored this Wonder together! :-)

    • Hello, Shaquan! We think it’s WONDERful that you like visiting Wonderopolis! We hope you learn something new each day…we know WE do! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know you learned some cool new facts about the good side and bad side of playing video games, Zach! We appreciate your comment very much! :-)

  6. I think video games are awesome! I love them, especially the ones that let you dance or exercise. Others are fun, too, but..the ones that make you exercise are even better to keep you in shape. : )

    • We agree, Jayde! The exercise and dancing types of video games are super fun…it’s a blast to watch your friends and family try to get the dance moves down or strike a yoga pose. It can be a fun way to stay active as a group! :-)

  7. My name isn’t pie, but i wish it was!!!
    And I love video games!! I’m so enthusiastic, but I don’t know what tomorrow’s is.

    • That’s OK, Hannah! You don’t always have to try to guess the next day’s Wonder. Sometimes we think it’s fun just to have it be a surprise! :-)

      We have a Wonder of the Day® we think you might enjoy! It’s past Wonder #162 – What Is Pi? Here’s a link that will take you right to it! http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-is-pi/. :-)

    • Hey, Reggie! We’re glad you left us this comment so we know you checked out today’s Wonder, and also that you let us know your thoughts about it! Have a GREAT weekend! :-)

    • It’s true, Jacen. Some video games can be SUPER fun and REALLY educational. Others can be VERY violent. We really like the fun and educational ones! :-)

  8. Exergaming can definitely be better than sedentary games! I love exergaming and my favorite is Just Dance 3 for kinect. Of course, I still exercise, too, like sometimes I’ll skateboard with my friends. Exergaming is a great alternative to exercise on rainy days, too. :)

    • You’re so right about the rainy day point, Connor! We think it’s AWESOME that you get out of the house and exercise with your friends, too! Skateboarding is a fun sport! Have you ever visited past Wonder of the Day® #318 – How Do You Ollie? It’s a GREAT Wonder about skateboarding…check it out: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-do-you-ollie/. :-)

  9. I am glad some video games are healthy… people play hand video games and are chubby, while some other people are playing good and healthy video games and loosing weight. Also, parents will approve of health games and let their children buy and play them.. I think the wonder of the day for tomorrow will be on ….are purple unicorns real????

    • My, what a really creative guess you made about tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®, Adalion! We like it! We’ll have to check back tomorrow to see if you were right, but we have to admit, we’d really like to know if purple unicorns ARE real! That would be a WONDERful discovery, wouldn’t it? :-)

  10. Hi, it’s Jack from Mrs. Bradis’ 7th bell. Tomorrow’s wonder will be about some sort of writing. I like a wonder that’s awesome. That’s well..AWESOME!!!!!!!!

  11. Wow, that’s something I never would have guessed! Even though I don’t like video games, that’s nice to know!!!!!

    from Nicole, Ms. Brasdis’ 7th bell

    • Hi, Nicole! We’re glad you learned a new fact about video games today! Thank you for letting us know that you don’t like video games, but that you still like learning about them! That’s a GREAT attitude to have! :-)

  12. I don’t play video games much, but if it’s a healthy game, it’s waaaaay better than an unhealthy video game. Healthy video games are more approved by most parents because then, children are also exercising, which all parents want from their children. Hand video games that give you no exercise only make you fatter, and some children less sociable. Aaaannnnyywwwaaaayyyyssss… I think the wonder of the day will be… is there such thing as a crazy wonderland where candy mountains are real?

  13. It is true, many children get caught up with the amusement of video games. Many new games provide exercise now…like ..Wii Fit or Just Dance, so parents will approve of the amount spent. If a child has a computer, or game console, they should use their time wisely and divide their time into fun and education/exercise.

    • We like your idea of kids dividing their time up so that they are learning AND getting exercise, SeaSea! Way to go! Thank for sharing your comment with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  14. Honestly, some games may be good for you, but some things are better the old way….I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day should be……. are purple unicorns real?

    • It seems that a few other Wonder Friends would like to see a future Wonder about purple unicorns, too, Wonder Friend J_C! We’ll have to see what we can do about that one! :-)

    • Hello, Alan! Thanks so much for hanging out in Wonderopolis today and sharing this GREAT comment with us! We hope your Friday was WONDERful! :-)

    • We’re really happy to hear that you like the videos we choose to show with our Wonders of the Day, Anthony! Thank you for letting us know! :-)

    • That’s GREAT, Natasha! Thanks for sharing your favorite video game with us today and for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  15. I thought that today’s wonder was very cool. I really like your videos because some are funny. I know some games aren’t healthy. But wii fit and wii have lots of games that are very healthy. Before I watched the video, I thought will the person play wii and the boy did. I thought that because I have a wii. But I am still wondering are computers always good for you? I am from Ms. Krupp’s 3rd grade class.

    • You left us a SUPER comment, Katelyn…THANKS! It’s fun for us to hear the different points of view from our many Wonder Friends, and we’re glad you shared yours with us today! We think computers can be healthy for your brain, because you can learn LOTS of stuff (like you do when you visit Wonderopolis!), but it’s also great to get outside and WONDER about the world around you! :-)

  16. Who knew playing video games could be good for you! And I was sort of right about today’s wonder!! I think that tomorrow’s wonder will be about pen pals. :-)

    • We’re proud of you for being close with your guess about this Wonder, Rebecca! It sounds like you learned some new things about how playing video games can sometimes be a good thing…that ROCKS! :-)

  17. I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about pen pals. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s wonder of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We’re SO EXCITED that YOU’RE excited about tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®, Mr. A! You sure are enthusiastic about WONDERing and we REALLY appreciate that! :-)

    • Thanks for guessing what you think the next Wonder will be about, Paige! We hope you are having a GREAT weekend so far! :-)

  18. This was a really cool wonder. You get to see people doing the Wii and you get to see people in the gym. Do you know what the first video game was?

  19. You guys got featured in Newsweek! Just wanted to send this comment to say good job! Newsweek is my favorite magazine (even though I’m only in sixth grade)and it takes a lot to get featured. Good job!!!

    • Hi, Sophie! Thanks so much for being such a big fan of Wonderopolis! We really appreciate your enthusiasm for learning and sharing! Gooooo, Wadsworth Grizzlies! :-)

    • You’re right about some video games, Makayla! The kinds that involve getting up off the couch, moving around and dancing are good examples of video games that are great for exercising! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know what you thought about this Wonder of the Day®, Noah! We appreciate your comment and certainly respect your point of view. We’re super sorry that you feel this Wonder wasn’t as exciting as you’d like. We encourage you to check out some other Wonders in one of our many categories and give learning in Wonderopolis another try! :-)

    • Thanks for leaving us this great comment, Alissa! We think ANY video games that get you up and moving are GREAT! There are dance and exercise games available for most all gaming consoles now, so you should be able to find something FUN and FIT to do no matter which console your family has! :-)

    • You’re right, Wonder Friend! Thank you for adding something extra to this Wonder of the Day® by sharing another brand of console that is GREAT for exergaming! :-)

  20. Dear wonderopolis, what kind of video games are good for you? Like, just dance or wii fit or sit and play like hello kitty animal crossing, mario brothers or xbox or just dance?

    • It’s fun to play all kinds of video games, Alissa, but we think the ones that get you up and moving around (like dancing or exercise games) are good for your brain AND your physical fitness! :-)

  21. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I’m wondering if you could lend me some tips for games involving exercising for the Wii. I’m into soccer, runnning, and exercising techniques. I do not have a Wii Fit or a kinect xbox.

    • Hello, Mackenzie! We’re not sure about recommending specific games, as we know there are LOTS of games out there! What might be a great game for one Wonder Friend might not be the best for another. We recommend asking your friends, teachers and family which exercise games they’ve enjoyed playing. Ask which exercise games they thought were the most fun, the most demanding and the best for kids! We’re sure you’ll find the right Wii game to help make fitness fun! :-)

    • Hello, Justin! We liked that video, too! Wouldn’t it be fun if we could do all that exercising in “fast” mode like the man in the video? :-)

  22. Hello Wonderopolis,
    I have a Wii and a PS3 and I Exergame on both (Wii Broke down though). I never new that my favorite games are sedentary. I play Sports Champion on PS3 with PSMove. I think Exergaming is awesome. I play Just Dance at my cousins. Why can’t companies make Exergaming as healthy as regular exercising?

    • We think it’s SO GREAT that you exergame, McNeil 1! Exergaming is WAY better for you than sedentary gaming where you stay seated the whole time and only exercise your fingers and thumbs! We’re proud of you! Thank you for sharing the ways you like to get some exercise when playing video games! :-)

  23. That person doing Wii Fit lost a lot of weight.
    I have a Wii called Wii fit plus. It is just like Wii Fit, but Wii Fit Plus has even more games. I once lost weight doing Wii Fit Plus. I was 108 lbs. and then after doing it I had lost 3 lbs. The just dance Wiis also give you exercise. You can also get exercise on a wii called Walk It Out. All of these games are really fun to play and get exercise at the same time!

    • Thanks for sharing how you have fun AND get exercise by playing video games, Julie! We think your comment ROCKS! :-)

  24. Games like WiiFit and Just Dance are somewhat good for you, as they keep your body moving. But playing video games aren’t the only things you can do to keep yourself entertained. I enjoy listening to Owl City and Sky Sailing and dancing to them as exercise or doing yoga, and I’m only 11. This website is very cool and I hope to see more.

    • You’re right about all the AWESOME ways to keep moving and be entertained, Sori! We really like listening to music, too! We’re thinking about doing some dance exercising today because you inspired us! Thanks for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment with us today, “Awesome Panda!” We like learning new things and really appreciate you sharing with everyone in Wonderopolis! :-)

    • Hi there Joe, we are glad you commented today. We appreciate your opinion and are happy to hear that you enjoy WONDERing about video games like we do! We hope you’ll be back for more WONDERful fun! :)

  25. I always knew that SOME video games are good for people. My mom says that some vidoe games are bad because I have the ps3. Thank you guys again now I can tell my mom that video games are not so bad.

    • We’re happy that you and your mom are going to discuss what you learned about video games, Carlos! We bet it will be a lot of fun to Wonder together! Thanks for sharing you comment with us! :)

  26. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Video games are so cool!! I play my video games after I do my homework. My brother likes video games too. He likes sonic. Hope you have a good day. :)

    Jacob

    • Hey there, Jacob! Thanks for sharing your comment about video games– it’s awesome that you like to play different games (especially after you finish your homework)! It sounds like you and your brother are a great video game team! We hope your day is WONDERful, thanks for visiting us today! :)

    • We’re glad you’ve been WONDERing about the consequences of playing video games, Wonder Friend Niya! Some games are really great for our brains and imaginations, but we think it’s important to remember: everything in moderation! We Wonder if you have any awesome games that you like to play? :)

    • Well thank you so very much, Wonder Friend Abby! We are glad you’re smiling as you Wonder today! See you soon! :)

    • Great question, Nathan D! We’re so glad you’re WONDERing all about technology, especially the video systems you might use! We Wonder if you can find out more information with the help of your local librarian! :)

  27. Wow! I didn’t know you can actually have exercise while playing a video game! I’m off to tell my mom and daddy, but I need to convince them first. Off to get a video game and then convince mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, or all! :)

    • It is exciting to learn that you can get exercise while playing some video games, Wonder Friend looper. We are anxious to hear what your family had to say. Were you able to convince them?

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How can video games be good for you?
  • Can you spend too much time playing video games?
  • What are some fun ways to exercise?

Wonder Gallery

sporty girls_shutterstock_85363513Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to get some exercise? Even if you enjoy exergaming, it’s important to get plenty of good quality exercise for your body on a regular basis. So grab a friend or family member and try out some of these ideas for other fun ways to get your exercise:

  • Go hiking! There’s no better way to exercise and explore the great outdoors at the same time than a nice family hike. So choose a local park or a national forest and hit the trails for some fun in the wild.
  • Swim some laps! If it’s warm where you live, get out and swim some laps in a local lake. If it’s cold outside where you are, find a local school or YMCA that has a pool. Swimming and playing in the water is a really fun way to get your daily exercise!
  • Play a sport as a family! Grab a soccer ball, basketball, football, baseball or any type of ball. Head to a local park or an indoor gymnasium and have fun playing some friendly games as a family.

 

Still Wondering

Explore Smithsonian’s History Explorer to listen to the Meet Our Museum Podcast: The First Home Video Game podcast. In this podcast, Petrina Foti discusses the history behind the original home video game system and how to study objects such as computer and video games.

 

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