Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Dec 10

Whee, whee, Wii!

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The last cookie crumbs

Who left those perfectly good cookie chunks sitting on that plate?

Now that Christmas is over and New Year’s is upon us, it’s time for those annual self-recriminations resolutions. And what’s at the top of everyone’s list? Atone for the past 40 days of gustatory indulgence with a shiny new gym membership! Or some other plan to get 30-60 minutes of exercise a day. Lucky for me, one of the Christmas presents we opened in our house this year offers hours of fun and entertainment plus a way to work off the six dozen cookies I pounded down in the name of Santa Claus. In case you missed it in the title of the post, I’ll give you a little hint: we got a Wii! But not just a Wii. We also got the Wii Fit Plus!!!!!


This is the basic package.

We opened gifts on Christmas Eve (partly because my 3-year-old son couldn’t possibly wait one more second to rip into those presents, and partly because my 30-something husband knew we were getting a Wii and Wii Fit . . . and couldn’t possibly wait one more second to rip into those presents). Ten minutes after the last shred of paper was torn from the last gift, that Wii was up and running.

The console came with Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, and, yeah, the bowling and ping-pong and stuff is fun, but what I’m most excited about is the Wii Fit. I don’t think I’m alone in saying it’s really hard to fit regular exercise into your routine when you have kids. A gym membership is a pipe dream when the only significant chunk of free time in my day is between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Hopefully, the Wii Fit is fun enough and easy enough that spending time working out won’t be such a mental obstacle.

Workout drama

That's how I feel about boring workouts.

I set up my little Mii character, which was fun because I got to choose my facial features, including eyebrow shape (which I suppose I get to do every couple months in real life, too, but it’s much less painful on the Wii). It takes you through a BMI calculator, asking for your height and using the balance board to weigh you. I was happy to note the scale in the Wii seems very generous. Either that or I lost five pounds on my cookies and cake diet. (And if that’s the case, please excuse me while I go write my new diet book and tour the talk show circuit.)

Wii Fit boxThe fun starts when it tests your balance to help determine your Wii Fit age. Basically, you lean left or right to move a cursor on the screen to a target area. Now, I would like to note up front that my grasp of left and right (and really all spatial concepts) is a little shaky. I’d like to think that’s the reason my Wii Fit adjusted age is a dozen years older than my actual age. And the Wii is so polite when it crushes your ego. It asked me, in a very concerned tone of font, if I trip a lot when I walk. Thankfully, though, it tells me that I have a healthy BMI. I doubt that the calculations it makes would stand up to more official tests, but it’s a place to start.

Strength training instructor

Easy instructions and visual example

After I got my avatar created and learned that I’m “much weaker” than a person my age should be, I tested a few of the workout games. You get five categories of choose from: Yoga, Strength, Balance, Aerobics, and Fitness Plus. The Yoga and Strength options give you a list of exercises to choose from. Some use the Balance Board, and some don’t, but they’re all timed, and you pick a male or female fitness instructor to lead you. In some cases, I was basically following an exercise video. But the instructions were easy and accurate, and I did feel like I was accomplishing something.

Wii workout lady

If this were a video, you'd see her windmilling her arms wildly.

I don’t want to talk too much about the beginner step aerobics module I tried. Mainly because it’s a tad humiliating to be the object of sympathy of a computer generated avatar. Step up and step down are easy commands to follow, but when they started throwing in step left and step right, let’s just say I got a little lost. The jogging in place was much more my speed. Although “in place” is a rather strong phrase . . .

The really fun part was the games. I tried just about everything, including the driving range, hula hoop, the flying chicken game, downhill skiing, snowball fighting, and the obstacle course. I think the obstacle course will be my stand-in until they let me compete on Wipeout. And I’ll have you know that I scored at the highest level on the driving range. Even my husband, the avid golfer, had to try several times to beat me. And he wouldn’t even attempt the hula hoop.

Truthfully, we spent a solid two hours testing out the games and laughing. Mostly at each other. It was so much fun, I was surprised at how quickly the time passed. Which, for me, is the way I like to exercise. In fact, if I could be unconscious while exercising, that would be ideal. But since no one has figured that out, I’ll have to give the Wii Fit a whirl and see if it will help me stay motivated.

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