Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wii, Wii, Wii All the Way Home

Karen asked what Wii games I play for exercise.  I have lots to say on this subject, so I'm going to go ahead and write a new post.  (Thanks for the topic, Karen!)  My comments and recommendations come from the perspective of someone who is significantly overweight (I was around 290 the last time I checked), very inactive, and has underlying health problems that cause pain and fatigue.  So gentle, low impact exercise is much more important to me than your standard exerciser.

My first exer-game, and the whole reason I bought the Wii in the first place, was the Wii Fit Plus.  You've got to have a Wii balance board to play this one.  It looks like a scale, but without the readout.  The best thing about the Wii Fit is that it's really just a bunch of fun mini games.  You can hula hoop.  You can box.  You can bike or ski or ride a Segway or navigate rapids.  Each little game only takes a minute or two to play.  So you do a little of this and a little of that until you've done as much as you want to do.  You can set a calories burned goal (this one is fun-- you pick a slice of cheese or a piece of cake or one of a half dozen other food items, and then it lets you know when your combined calories burned in your session has worked off that particular item).  Wii Fit also has yoga, strength, and balance activities, so you can work on all aspects of physical activity.  If you poke around in all the different areas you can get a nicely balanced workout at any level.

The second game that I have and love is Walk it Out.  WiO is (surprise!) a walking game.  The idea is to step to the beat of the music as you move around Rhythm Island.  The landscape starts out pretty blank, but you get a point for every step that you make on the beat, and then you can "zap" things as you go.  You can add everything from little stuff like benches and trees and lampposts to big stuff like shops and houses.  You can gather clock pieces, and then reset the time within the game to any time of day.  (The game has a 24 hour clock that generally lines up with the time in the real world.  So if you play at noon every day, you play in sunshine.  If you play at 9 o'clock at night, it will be dark out.)  You can gather CDs and earn new songs.  (You start out with a limited number of songs.  The variety of songs in the game is pretty impressive, many with original artists.)  You can also collect "rainbow spheres" (big colored balls), and once you've got all 7, a rainbow will appear over the island.  (This one resets every day, so you have to keep earning it.  Everything else, once you've earned it, it will be there the next time you play.)  This one is addictive!  There's always just one more thing you want to earn, so it's great for me to get a steady, low impact cardio workout.

I got Active Life Explorer for Christmas last year, and it's fun!  It was created as an active game for kids, but it's a fun way for adults to get some movement in, too.  Like Wii Fit Plus, it's made up of a lot of different mini games, with an Indiana Jonesy, adventure theme.  For me, at the time, it was a little too active.  Too much bending and jumping and such.  I really want to get into the swing again with Wii Fit and Walk it Out, and then slowly add Active Life Explorer into the rotation.  (The great thing about using a game console as exercise equipment is that fun is an important part of the process.  If you're not having a good time, why play the game?)

I also got one of the many versions of Dance Dance Revolution for Christmas last year.  This one is more energetic than Wii Fit or Walk it Out, but not as much as Active Life Explorer.  My problem is that A, I'm not very good at it, and B, I wear out pretty quickly.  This is one I'm going to have to work my way up to getting the most out of.  Getting better at figuring out how to respond to the directions and working with the controller mat would help, too.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I have one called We Cheer.  You're a cheerleader, and you have to learn to accurately do the moves of different dance routines.  You'd think this would be really demanding physically, but it depends on how you do it.  If you try to do the whole body moves like the cartoon cheerleaders on the screen, there's no way I could do it.  But if you just try to keep up with the arm movements (you hold a controller in one or both hands, and that's how the game is scored), it's not too bad.  And it's fun!  The music is a bit teeny bopperish, but that doesn't bother me.

There are other games I'd like to be able to play, like Just Dance or Zumba Fitness.  But I know that those are well beyond anything I could do right now, so I haven't bothered to buy them.  Even with regular exercise I'm not sure if my body will *ever* be willing to move the way it would need to to play those games.  I'll be happy just to get to the point where I can fully take advantage of the games I already have.

In the down time, when no one is exercising with it, we play Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and one called Big Brain Academy to help with cognitive function and reaction time.  And when we're being really lazy, we use the Wii to watch streaming movies from Netflix!  So the Wii gets a workout, even if we don't.  :p

1 comment:

  1. Dang, girl! You got lots of Wii!! We've got the basic Wii Fit which I do sometimes - mostly the step aerobics and the hula hoop with occasional forays into the balance games. I got DDR for the girl child but find it really annoying. I tend to (when I'm actually exercising, mind you) vary between walking, hiking, the elliptical and the Wii. I'm hoping to get back to yoga classes again when my back stops being obnoxious.

    Mostly the Wii gets used for the kids' stuff, like Mario Kart and Mini Ninjas.

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