My love for the Nintendo Wii has already been documented here. And I’ve known about the Wii Fit for a few years now, having played it to near exhaustion the first night my buddy James got it. So it should come as no surprise that playing the Wii Fit Plus is my latest Wii obsession.
For those unfamiliar with the Wii Fit, here is a brief overview. It is an integrated exercise program built around a video game. It provides a trainer, feedback, and keeps track of your weight, BMI (Body Mass Index), time exercised, and calories burned. This is all done through your Mii, or character representative, and it is accomplished by standing on the Wii Fit Board, as seen to the right. You stand on this pressure sensitive board and shift your weight to play the games. Sometimes you dodge things by leaning one way or another, sometimes you step on and off in rhythm, and sometimes you just try and stay as still as possible. What makes this so great is that the game keeps track of time and distance and energy used so that you actually know what kind of progress you make.
So what kind of games are there? In reality, there are a lot. The original Wii Fit has about 12 games, plus some aerobic activities, yoga poses, and strength exercises. Wii Fit Plus (the newest version) has more games and more activities. Some of my favorites include the Ski Jump, Heading Soccer Balls (while dodging non-balls), the Driving Range (it keeps track of your weight shifts to see where you hit the ball), and Bicycling. Yes, Bicycling. You step in place on the board and it simulates you peddling. You “ride” around an island, checking off check points and returning to the start finish. Last night I got lost while looking for the final checkpoints and the finish line and ended up riding an estimated 7.6 miles. Yes, my legs were burning.
Kristen’s favorite activities include Hula Hooping, Stepping (done in rhythm to music), and Yoga. She is really good at these activities, especially when compared to me, as I look like an uncoordinated moron when trying to follow the stepping instructions. But the great thing about all of these games is that they keep track of your scores, so you are competing against the other people in your system and yourself as well. It monitors your personal bests and even gives you a fitness test at the beginning to see what your Wii Fit Age is. I’m not one to advocate playing video games for hours on end (though I have, on occasion, done it…), but I have to give some credit to the people at Nintendo for designing a game that is not only fun, but productive as well. After all, when was the last time you could say that you were burning calories while gaming?