Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wii Fit?

It has been four months now since I bought into the Wii Fit craze. There were a lot of preliminary reviews that praised and criticised the gaming platform. I figured that I would let some time pass before I bothered adding my own impression to the discourse.

A couple of things: first, I disagree with suggestions that Wii Fit is just for fat, lazy gamers and stay-at-home moms. I am an above-average athlete, in that I workout/train for more than 8 hours each week, and I found some of the games rather challenging. Granted, when you start playing most of the games and activities are pretty easy. Most of the 'strength' category exercises only involve a few repetitions, and the 'aerobic' category games are very short. However, I was impressed by many of the "unlocked" exercises: especially the "challenge" games that push you to do an ever-increasing number of push-ups, or to hold the plank position for longer and longer. These exercises can challenge most athletes. Many of the games are really very fun, and I found myself learning quite a lot about my own centre of balance in the process.

Of course, WiiFit's limitations are manifold. The one peeve that I have seen repeated on the game reviews is that the exercises do not seamlessly connect, as they do when casually working-out. For instance, after doing a round of push-ups one is directed back to the exercise menu. However, before doing so the game suggests a yoga or aerobic exercise to combine with the push-up workout. I would like it if there was an option to continue on to the suggested exercise, rather than going back to the menu. This would reduce the time between exercises, and would make for a better workout.

Another comment that I recall seeing on some of the reviews (either by an author or as a follow-up comment) was that the game "was just a fad." I certainly agree that the game is just a fad. However, after the honeymoon period ended, and the novelty wore-off, I find that do return to it regularly. At first, I had tried to combine Wii Fit with my existing work-out regime (jogging, tennis and swimming). However, for reasons regarding loading times, I quickly dropped-off the amount of Wii Fit exercising that I would commit to on a weekly basis.

As an occasional supplement for a regular exercise schedule, I think that the Wii Fit is excellent. It has plenty of fun and challenging exercises that give it great re-play value.

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