It was like someone inventing a cheeseburger which lowered your cholesterol.
Or a reality show which raised your IQ.
The idea that "exergames" like the Nintendo Wii could actually improve your physical fitness while you played a video game seemed like pretty much the greatest thing ever.
However, the couch potato's dream come true has sadly been shot down by science. Game over.
Children who were given a Wii to play at their homes, along with some of the console's most physically demanding games, displayed no greater level of overall physical activity than children who played more sedentary Wii games, according to a Baylor College of Medicine study. So run around the living room swinging that virtual tennis racket and grunting all you want -- it's still better to actually run outside.
Researchers found "no evidence that children receiving the active video games were more active in general, or at any time, than children receiving the inactive video games," in the study which was published earlier this year in the journal "Pediatrics." One of the study's authors explained in the New York Times that "when you prescribe increased physical activity, overall activity remains the same because the subjects compensate by reducing other physical activities during the day."
So, sorry everybody. Playing video games won't make you more fit. Mario can't replace your treadmill. But there's still a sizeable spot for tech toys in making your workouts less painful. Here are a few of our favorites:
SwiMP3.1G underwater MP3 player: Music goes a long way toward motivating through a workout. So why should swimmers be left out? Holds 2GB of music, podcasts, audio books or recordings of Michael Phelps taunting you.
The soccer chair: Not gonna promise this one has tremendous cardio benefit. But if you're just going to be sitting around anyway, why not do it on top of a miniature soccer goal kicking into another mini soccer goal?
Gym-Pact app: Disincentives help, too. This app will charge you when you fail to show up at the gym. It also pays you (using cash collected by the slackers) for sticking to your workout commitment.
Valencell in-ear workout monitor: Some ear buds just play music. This one reads your body's exercise response to track your heart rate, distance traveled, calories burned and more, then shoots that data to your smartphone for tracking.