Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wii Fit-ercise

Advertised to launch on May 19th, the Wii Fit was released across the nation on May 21st. This left some fans upset since only the Nintendo World store in New York debuted the game on the 19th. Designed to be a way to get people off the couch and moving, the Wii Fit tracks your weight, body mass index (BMI), and activity on a calendar with the goal of encouraging frequent exercise. If you don’t return in daily, it very kindly reminds you in a manner reminiscent of my parents that your results will be better if you play on it daily. The only way it could be a better accountability partner is if it poked me when I’m napping on the couch to remind me to get up and exercise.

To use the Wii Fit you stand on the included Wii Balance Board™ and sensors inside detect weight and shifts in balance which is the premise behind the games. It has you create a personal profile where it asks for your height, measures your weight, calculates your BMI and tests your balance - all to give you your Wii Fit Age. I’m not sure how accurate this measurement is since I scored right at my real age and my much more athletic friend was calculated to be about 25 years older than she actually is.

After your initial weigh-in, you use your body as a joystick, shifting your weight in different directions to simulate activities such as shalom skiing, heading a soccer ball, and hula -hooping. For some though, (myself included) it is a challenge to remember that it is the shift in your total weight that the board detects and not if you solely move your head to hit the soccer ball that is flying at it. The games are short but engaging and the more time you spend on the various games the more new games you unlock.

With the goal of drawing non-gamers as the Wii has already targeted, the Wii Fit draws in users with its easy to use interface and enjoyable games. It is even being used as a fitness tool for travelers at Westin Hotels. It won’t replace diet and other aerobic exercise (as it doesn’t have any really length workouts) for real weight loss, but it provides an easy way to sneak exercise into the day disguised as fun. However, much fun it is, though, don’t be fooled - you’ll work up a sweat with the combination of the activities and a competitive nature.

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