Getting a 'Wii' bit more fit

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By Shannon Brock

Exercise and video games are two things I’ve never really been able to get in to.

I know that exercising for the sake of exercising is something that everyone should do, but I’ve never been able to continuously, on some sort of schedule make myself exercise just because it’s good for me. Back in high school, I did plenty of exercise disguised in the form of cheerleading practice, but that was because it was exercise in disguise. I had to do it or be a bad cheerleader, and the latter just wasn’t going to happen.

My video game skills pretty much stop at playing Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo. Past that point, I just wasn’t good at playing them, and I don’t do things I’m not good at (though some of you would beg to differ).

Anyway, I never would have thought that in combining these two things, I’d find something I’m actually very fond of. But I did, and it’s called Wii Fit.

My sister-in-law asked for one for Christmas, and I thought it would be something kind of neat — for her. But after trying it for myself the day after Christmas, I knew I had to have one of my own.

Here’s how it works.

The Nintendo Wii is a motion sensor console anyway, but the Wii Fit takes it a step further. The game comes with a balance board, which synchs itself with the console. The board is very intelligent in that when you stand on it, it can measure your weight, balance and shift in movement from front to back, left to right.

The game is divided up into four categories: yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games. Each category comes with four exercises and the more you do them and the better you get at them, the more exercises you “unlock.” I’m not sure how many there are total because even though I’ve unlocked my fair share, I still have a long way to go.

The design of the game is pretty awesome. It’s like having your own (cheap) personal trainer. It comes programmed to track your weight, body mass index and time you spend exercising.

It even gets onto you for missing a day. I only know this because I was too busy walking around Fayette Mall last Wednesday night to step on the board, but come on…shopping can be exercise on its own, right?

And on the other hand, it commends you for working out several days in a row. “It’s hard to work out everyday,” the game tells you. “Good job. Keep up the good work.”

One of the most fun aspects of Wii Fit is that it also keeps track of your exercising achievements allowing for a little friendly husband-wife competition.

For instance, one of the balance game exercises is ski jumping. You bend down and at the right moment you straighten your legs and keep your balance to “jump” as far as you can. Two jumps are equivalent to one turn, but it tells the distance for each jump as well.

Since day one, Josh and I have been battling at this exercise. As it stands, I hold the two-jump record with a total of 355 feet, but Josh and I are tied for longest jump at 184 feet.

And even when he’s not around to compete with me, it’s still fun — mostly because I have a little bit of Monica Geller in me and I love competition with myself. But don’t we all strive to do better? Eh, maybe it’s just me.

Still, when that little digital trainer chick tells me I’m not “strong enough” to do one of her exercises, it only makes me want to try it again and prove her wrong. And proving her wrong feels pretty darn good.

Overall, I think it’s a great idea and it’s really so much fun you kind of forget you’re exercising. That is, until you stop for a breather and realize you’re sweating through your sweat suit.

I guess what I’m saying it kudos to Nintendo for coming up with an exercise program for gamers and non-gamers alike. Since finding the Wii Fit, I’ve exercised more days than I haven’t, and for me, that says a lot.

E-mail Shannon Mason Brock at sbrock@theandersonnews.com.