It appears that a few extra minutes on the Balance Board won’t make up for that extra mince pie or second helping of Christmas pudding, according to new research made available by the University of Mississippi.

The purpose of the research was to ascertain how effective Nintendo’s Wii Fit was at increasing the fitness levels of eight participating families. By giving the families three months with the game and three months without, a range of physical attributes including aerobic fitness, balance and body composition would be recorded and analysed.

Lead researcher of the experiment Scott Owens, associate professor of health and exercise science at the University of Mississippi, found there were no major changes in daily physical activity, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance or body composition between the three months spent with Wii Fit and those without.

In addition to the above findings, the report showed that the use of Wii Fit dropped by a huge 82% over the course of the study, from an initial 22 minutes per day during the first six weeks of the experiment to just four minutes per day during the final six weeks.

In conclusion, Owens states that Wii Fit had little impact on daily fitness levels and that:

Modest amounts of daily Wii Fit use may have provided insufficient stimulus for fitness changes.

Ouch. Our own writer Kim Wild is currently using Wii Fit Plus in her own exercise regime, and so far her results are certainly more encouraging than this study would suggest. Check out her progress so far in podcast episodes nine and ten, and come back in early January to see if she can keep it up over Christmas and New Year!