Family Builders: Exercising on the Wii Fit Together

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Thanks to the generosity of a friend who was willing to wait for hours at the store the other night, we’re now the proud owners of our very own Wii Fit.

You know what? This thing is amazing! It took the boys and I about 5 minutes apiece to get set up on the system and start playing. The unit asked for my height and age, then calculated my weight (and I am SO not telling you that number) and did a balance test. I was informed of my BMI (Body Mass Index) and given my very own Wii Fit Age. According to the Wii I’m 42, which is 4 years older than my actual age. I hope to have that lowered by the end of summer.

My first goal is to lose weight, which will drop my BMI to a number I’ve chosen. I entered some numbers in and was quickly informed that my goals were a bit ambitious. [Sigh. I changed them.] I’m now set with a goal of losing a couple of pounds a week for two months. Progress checks are made every two weeks and goals can be adjusted if necessary.

The feedback given to users is great. Every day that you use the Wii Fit is marked on a calendar, and charts and graphs of your effort and progress are easily displayed. There’s even an area where you can log in activity done on your own. I plan to log any time I spend walking or doing my exercise videos. Each player is also shown how many minutes they’ve spent exercising and new games and/or moves are earned after enough time has been spent using the machine.

There are 4 main training areas: Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobic, and Balance Games. I started out with a balance game where you try to get a ball to drop through a hole in a virtual board. Next I tried skiing. There’s a ski jump game and a slalom course. In both of them you navigate by adjusting your weight on the board. I didn’t do so well at the soccer game where you try to get the character to hit balls with the head, but we did laugh pretty hard when shoes came flying and “hit” me.

In the Aerobics training, I had a ball with the hula game and was out of breath after 4 rounds. There’s also a step program where you follow the footprints on the screen and get scored on timing and accuracy. I didn’t try going for the run around the island, but the boys had a good time racing each other.

On to strength training. I tried out a few of the exercises there with my personal trainer (users may choose between a male or female guide) and I’ll definitely have to go back and work on my strength. For one thing I discovered my left leg is weaker than the right. In the Yoga area, I was again led in some stretches by my trainer. Oh my goodness that’s harder than it looks!

Honestly, I wasn’t completely sure the Wii Fit would offer any kind of physical challenge before we bought it. I was wrong.

There’s quite a bit of challenge for me, an individual who’s been doing moderate exercise for a while now. I can see where older folks could really benefit from the balance and strength activities. All of the boys had a lot to learn from the games they played today. TechnoBoy got frustrated by the step aerobic game, but with encouragement he tried again. I know he’ll get huge benefits from the improved coordination and timing skills he’s working on. Each of the areas had 4 or 5 games or training moves available to start. More games and challenges are earned, and the difficulty level can be adjusted from beginner on up as you progress.

I mentioned in the title of this post that the Wii Fit can be a family builder. That’s true. We had a lot of laughs today with the games, and after the boys went to bed tonight I tried out all of the areas and (ahem) did my best to beat their scores in as many games as I could. Sadly I wasn’t able to top them as much as I wanted, but there’s always tomorrow. They’re going to have to work to stay ahead of me and Hubby, who also tried out several areas while I was at the store. I can see a lot of fun competitions ahead.

Earnest Parenting: help for families who want to be fit.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Clark August 5, 2008, 3:03 am

    Real sports are more fun than the wii fit and free.

    Reply
  • Amy August 5, 2008, 1:17 pm

    Clark, I’ll have to agree and disagree with you here.

    I agree on the “real sports are more fun” part. The Wii originally came with a sports package which has bowling, tennis, ping-pong, golf, and a few others. I won’t play that because it takes me all of 5 minutes to get anxious and want to go play the games for real. It just bugs me. And honestly, the kids rarely play that set anymore. They’re more into the quest/arcade stuff right now.

    The disagree part is about cost. It all depends on your definition of “real” sports of course. For my boys to play football I had to pay a fee to join the team/cover equipment, another fee for the sports physical, more money for shoes, and then there’s the gas money driving to practices and games. I also expect to have to buy shirts and extra mouth guards along the way, so the costs haven’t ended.

    Even before gas money, I’ve spent about $90 PER child to participate in 3 months of football. The Wii Fit was $90 and I can use it as long as it’s functional. Certainly it’s going to last longer than the football season.

    Assuming that by real sports you mean informal events that don’t have fees to join, there are still equipment and facility costs. Even a game of bowling costs a few bucks each time and that adds up.

    An adult softball team I was on once through church meant that I had to go buy a glove and practice ball, the team hat and so on. Had I gotten serious about playing, there were shoes and gloves to buy, a practice bat, and I could have gone and rented time at a batting cage to improve my skills. There are costs everywhere.

    The Wii Fit games do work me out, and it’s cheaper than a membership to a gym somewhere. And yes of course it would be free if I just went for a walk, but the time I usually have to exercise is very late at night, and the severe winters along with a few health issues are prohibitive for outdoor exercise for several months a year.

    I’m proud to say that I’ve lost 20 pounds, many of which were due to using the Wii Fit. For me, it helps with accountability and convenience. And of course I still stand by the point that playing games on it together with the boys is a great family builder.

    Is it for everyone? No, of course not. There’s no one family that will find themselves benefiting from every single recommendation I make. We are all unique. That’s one feature of life on this planet that I love.

    Hey I’m really glad you stopped by and hope you do again. Also if you wanted to give opposing examples, go for it! I love a (friendly) debate. 😀

    Reply
  • Biblestudies March 5, 2009, 1:35 pm

    I have tried it with friends, its fun to work out. I don’t know if the excitement level would be the same after a while.

    By the way, I remembered my friend’s daughter cheating with Wii Running game (I suppose), when she just sat on couch and moving the Wii remote only!!

    Reply
  • Amy March 16, 2009, 8:21 pm

    Biblestudies, yes it is fun! And yes the novelty can wear off. I haven’t used it in a while but am planning to again. The yoga exercises really helped me and I’m noticing that I would benefit from doing them more.

    And YES! It’s so easy to cheat at the race. I teased the boys about that when they tried it so now they at least jog in place for that event.

    Reply
  • PS3 July 2, 2009, 4:41 am

    I have a PS3/360/Wii. I can tell you now that if you want to lose weight using a gaming console then elimate the PS3 and Xbox 360. The Wii with Wii Fit is the perfect combination for anyone wanting to lose weight.

    It makes losing weight fun and helps to keep you exercised.

    Reply