Wii Fit

For Christmas our family bought a Wii and a Wii Fit. The idea was to have something more active and interactive to do instead of plopping down in front of the television to watch a movie or cartoons. On that front, we’ve had mixed results just because on the weekends we’ve been too busy and during the week we don’t usually watch TV as a family after supper. But still we’ve been doing it when we can.

The Wii Fit was more for my wife and me. I’ll get into the reasons and expectations in a bit, but first (as I usually do) I’ll recount my exercise history in order to give a bit of background.

I started exercising for the sake of exercising when I was about 12. My mother had gotten into running so I joined her. Actually it isn’t true to say that I was exercising. I was actually training for the weekend races we would sign up for.

A year or two after beginning running I started high school and immediately joined the cross-country team. I quickly became a hardcore runner and completed 1000 miles over 92 days the next summer. Running in high school was different from when I was running with my mom. It involved various forms speed training, stretching, and strength training. Now one thing about our high school coach was that he was a hardcore triathlete back when it was nowhere near as popular as it is today. I don’t think he had an ounce of fat on his body. What was interesting was that our stretching exercises were interspersed with yoga postures and occasional meditation. They include the upward bow, seated twisted spine, what we called the groin stretch, and the plow pose. I actually didn’t know that they were yoga postures until fairly recently. I just thought they were other types of stretches. To this day I still go through the same routine of stretches and yoga poses whenever I go running. Both before and after. Also during those high school years we spent a fair amount of time doing strength training and learning both how to workout on the machines and with free weights.

After high school I looked to the next challenge, the marathon. So my first semester in college was spent training for the Chicago Marathon in October. But after it was over, there was no goal. I continued on and off with both running and weight training throughout college and early adulthood. Usually it would come in spurts of dedication for a few months, but then it would stop for months until the next spurt. I did train for two other marathons but the training would start in the spring and abruptly end after the marathon in October.

During my high school years I was a bit of a purist when it came to exercising. Running and bicycling only took place outdoors. But during college and my young adult years I realized that treadmills and stationary bikes provided a decent workout even if it did not have the same intensity and could be rather boring in comparison.

Then we had kids. The demands of being a parent pretty much eliminated both the drive and the capability to workout. I just kept telling myself that constantly picking up the kids was giving me killer biceps. But then even as time became available it was still hard to get back into the groove. I’d get out occasionally, but no where near enough.

So that’s where I hoped the Wii Fit would help. We still don’t have time to go to a health club with any regularity. And our commute times and work hours dictate that if we were to fit exercise into our schedules, it would have to happen before our morning commute or after our evening commute. In the evening we eat as a family soon after getting home. So exercising in the evening would mean waiting until just before bed when we’re exhausted and in no mood to exercise. Exercising in the morning is possible, but would take some effort to be sure to get to bed at a reasonable time. The benefit with the Wii Fit is that I can roll out of bed and do about 30 to 40 minutes of exercise every morning before everyone else wakes up. Quite a bit of time is saved not going to and from the health club along with the preparation once there. So far since the first of the year, the Wii Fit has fit quite nicely into my schedule.

As for the Wii Fit itself, it is basically divided into 4 types of activities: aerobics, yoga, strength training, and balance games. As for the aerobics, I can say that I’m only a fan of the punch boxing and the hula hoops. I just feel with the other aerobic activities that I am not getting a workout. At least not at the intensity that I expect from an aerobic workout. They have running, but hopping from foot to foot in one place just feels weird to me.

One thing that has concerned me over the past few years is flexibility and core strength. I’ve seen how it has been increasingly difficult to do things like touching my toes. Plus I’m getting concerned about balance and how it relates to aging. So the yoga and strength training in the Wii Fit were big interests of mine. I have to say on that front I’ve been very happy with it. It has been fun to learn new yoga poses and core exercises and I can do them and practice them without anyone watching. Due to both of these, I pay much more attention to my posture whether it’s walking down the street, seated at work, or even while driving.

As for the games, they’ve just been gravy. They either make you move your body or make you pay attention to your balance. Much better than only moving your fingers, sitting at the computer, or watching TV.

One of the spinoff benefits has been that it has inspired me to exercise regularly outside the home. I’ve been walking and climbing the stairs up to the Belvedere on Mont Royal during my lunch hours about twice per week. And now that I’m getting used to waking up early, I’ve realized that I might be able to go for a run in the morning once in a while. I did this past weekend and it felt good.

My hope is that this is not another exercising spurt and that I’ll be able to stick with this regime in the long term.

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~ by Frank on March 5, 2010.

2 Responses to “Wii Fit”

  1. I’ve been enjoying my Wii Fit as well and it’s been producing some modest results. Balance is better, I can spend more time on the floor with the kid, and there’s even been some weight loss. Mind you, the refusal to use elevators and elimination of snacks may have something to do with it, too.

    You’ll never burn 500 calories with the Wii but like you say. it’s better than couch-surfing.

  2. I’ve kinda fallen off the wagon the last couple weeks due to lack of sleep. But the hope is to get back at it next week. I lost a bit of weight and my balance got better also. Though like you, I’ve made a strong effort to do the little things. Like going down and up 13 stories for a coffee.

    But I think I’ll need those strong calorie burning activities to really work off the weight. The warm weather will definitely help.

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