First and foremost, let me say thanks to the Healthy Writers for letting me blog today. I’m inspired by everyone’s journey and the great tales they tell, and I’m learning some great strategies as well.
I’m writing today because I finally succumbed to the hype and bought a Wii and then, in short order, the Wii Fit. I can’t tell you that I’m now fit enough to model for Victoria’s Secret, but I would also have to confess that I let my fitness goals slide in the spring as I finished up my Masters. I sometimes wonder if I wouldn’t be in worse shape without having had the Wii Fit to chastise me when I started getting too far out of line. Let me share with you what I’ve learned about it so far and then please chime in with questions and comments.
First the Cons:
• While some of the yoga and strength training activities are challenging, I can’t see getting a really, really good strength training session from the Wii Fit. Similarly, some of the cardio activities will cause you to break a sweat, but it’s nothing like a treadmill run or a stair climber binge.
• You have to turn the blessed thing on. Before I bought mine, I asked my best friend if she liked hers and/or found it effective. Her response? I suppose it would work if I used it. As in all things, discipline will be required.
• The electronic voices and trainers sometimes make me want to throw things at them. I suppose I’m better at suppressing the urge if it’s an actual human being who’s asking me to identify the reasons I’ve gained weight or who’s telling me I’m “a little shaky.”
• The suggested weights for women seem to be about right—the Wii Fit thinks a woman of my age (30-mumble, mumble) and my height (5’4”) should weigh 129, but the recommended weight for men seems to be skewed—163 for my husband who is 6’2” and has a large bone structure. Trust me when I tell you he would be way too skinny at that weight, and it’s not quite 30 pounds more than my recommended weight even though I’m much shorter than he is.
And the Pros:
• The Wii keeps up with your progress and throws electronic confetti when you reach a goal. Yay, positive reinforcement!
• As someone who had never done yoga before, I love the yoga program and now feel more confident about taking a class with the real people. The Wii Fit Plus “My Routine” is especially good for putting together a yoga program. You can also combine yoga and strength training.
• The aerobic activities as well as the Wii Sports package that generally comes with the Wii are a fun way to burn extra calories. (I love rhythm boxing, advanced step, and tennis.)
• Using the Wii Fit is a great way to supplement your regular routine and/or get a workout on a rainy day. When our treadmill died, my husband and I combined sets of stairs with Wii Fit activities, and it helped us break our respective plateaus.
• Some of the strength training exercises—particularly core ones like the traditional “plank” are quite grueling. And helpful. But mainly grueling.
• The Wii does help you with your form in yoga and strength training exercises as well as emphasizing posture and flexibility.
I think Wii Fit works really well in tandem with an exercise routine that involves more vigorous cardio and strength training routines. I generally go to the gym proper on Monday and Wednesday and use the Wii Fit on Tuesdays and Thursdays—as long as that routine is going well, I see great results. I’ve also noticed recently that I do much better with smaller goals and more frequent “celebrations,” and the Wii Fit starts with two-week goals.
The Wii Fit might also be an excellent purchase for someone who is new to fitness and needs to work up to more strenuous exercises or for someone who either can’t pay a gym membership or who doesn’t live near a gym. Like anything else, some aspects would get boring, but the Wii Fit does offer a lot of variety.
Most importantly, the kids like to play balance games and do some of the aerobic activities so exercise becomes a family affair. We also like to play some of the Wii Sports games like tennis as a way to blow off steam or to burn a few extra calories if we splurge on dessert. Our newest obsession is the “Just Dance” game for Wii; trust me when I tell you MC Hammer will have you panting at the end of that dance routine. Of course, the kids have seen us fuss at our weight so much that my eight-year-old will say, “The Wii Fit is evil.” I don’t have the heart to tell him that it’s not the Wii’s fault that his mother has a chocolate addiction.
And now it’s your turn…
I’m looking forward to trying some of the Biggest Loser programs or the Jillian Michaels one. Does anyone want to share an experience with those programs or the Wii in general? Has anyone thrown something at the television because they stepped on the balance board and the voice said, “Oo” in that electronic mock-horror way only the Wii Fit can do? I’d love to hear your Wii Fit stories, and I’ll answer any of your questions that I can. Thanks again to all these lovely ladies, the Healthy Writers.