Gaming

How the Wii Fit Changed the Way I Think About Exercise

The recent addition of the Wii Fit game to the Wii console has pushed this Nintendo system past its competitors such as the Xbox 360 and the PS3. One reason for this huge success is people like me, who don’t buy traditional video games. Perhaps Microsoft and Sony don’t understand that there is a large population of people out there who just don’t enjoy driving an animated car around a track 500 times or shooting alien robot zombies. Thankfully, Nintendo has given us something completely different — a fitness game that allows you to engage in a multitude of exercises, track your progress daily, and set reachable fitness goals. The Wii Fit is one of the most talked-about games right now, not just in gaming circles, but in the world of sports as well. Recently Baseball player Will Owen claimed the Wii Fit helped him lose 20 pounds — no small feat these days as people depend more and more on diet pills. But while the Wii Fit is praised all around, it has also drawn some criticism. Some say the Fit does not live up to the hype, and that users tire of it as fast as they do of standard home exercise equipment such as treadmills and exercise bikes. Their comments are a valid point: one friend of mine bought a Wii Fit with the intention of losing weight….and two weeks later had it up for sale on Craigslist — minus one Wii Fit, but not minus the weight. Using this exercise regimen does require some discipline, as does anything you plan to do daily or weekly. In my opinion, however, the Wii Fit offers many advantages over those other home gym alternatives.

First, Fit combines exercise with interactive technology. When you first set up your system, the Fit Board provides you with your Wii Fit age, calculated from your age, height, weight, and agility. Your Fit age tells you whether you are relatively in better or worse shape than a healthy person of your age should be. (Don’t worry if it tells you you’re 45 when you’re only 28 — it probably means you only need to work on your balance.) The balance exercises are some of my favorites and have really changed how I think about my movement and posture. When you begin to measure your daily Body Test, your weight distribution is registered on a grid. I was surprised to learn that when I thought I was standing straight with great posture, I was actually putting more weight on my left side, and more on my heels than my toes. I use the Wii Fit with a group of friends and family, and almost everyone has a center of balance that is too far back, and too far in one direction. The Wii exercises help you find your proper center of balance by providing tests and games. The balance board acts as a control; instead of using your fingers and thumbs, you use your toes, heels, and shifting weight to move an object on the screen to its proper place. After only a few minutes of working with the balance exercises, I feel more stable and aligned.

The Yoga portion of the exercises is another favorite of mine to gain balance, stability, and abdominal control. Using the Wii Board, you perform familiar yoga poses such as Sun Salutation, Tree Pose, and Warrior Pose. The technological benefit of doing yoga with the Wii Fit is that while you hold each pose, a small ball tracks your center of balance. The aim is to keep the small ball within a designated area, i.e., the exact place your weight should be distributed. I love this feature because it’s helped me modify some poses that I’ve been doing slightly wrong for years. For example, during the Warrior I pose, I have always put too much weight on my front leg, and the instructions from my Wii Trainer have corrected this problem.

Besides yoga and balance exercises, the Wii Fit offers aerobics and strength training. The variety of games and the ability to unlock new ones is a real motivating factor for me. Even if I do only a few exercises a day, my activity is logged and I feel like I’ve made at least a small step toward a more fit, balanced life. Even if weight loss isn’t your main goal, the Wii Fit offers so many types of games and exercises that you will end up working muscles you didn’t even know you had. Thanks to the Wii, I am exercising every day, and spending more time with my friends that love the game too. Even after we are finished with the game for the day, we find ourselves continuing to be more active. While we used to sit around and watch TV, we now go swimming or play volleyball, and are eager to come back in and log our workouts on the Activity Log. And if you feel like doing something else for a moment then you can play interactive 2048 cupcakes game that will take your mind off from exercise and will recharge you for the rest of the day. 

If you’ve just gotten a Wii Fit, or are thinking about getting one, I just want to encourage you to use it to its full potential. With a little endurance and encouragement, you really can lose weight and get in shape with this game.