Having a Fit

23 May

I’ve spent a day with Wii Fit and already I can tell that it will meet some expectations and exceed others.

Yes, Body Mass Index (BMI) is not the best measure of an individual’s health. Nintendo should have realized the controversy the game would cause by labeling users underweight, regular, overweight, or obese without explaining what BMI actually is. The game also suffers the same problem Brain Age does in that it makes very specific assumptions based on very simple tests.

I did the preliminary body test which requires you to find your center of balance and then adjust your balance to match certain markers. If you keep your balance within the markers for three seconds, you move on to the next set of markers. After the test, you’re given your Fit Age which should ideally be your actual age.

At the end of the test, I was given the Fit Age of 21, my actual age, but my roommate got one less set of markers than me and had his Fit Age bumped up by 11 years. I can’t imagine there being any scientific research to support this test or the entire Fit Age concept, but thankfully, it seems to be a small part of the game.

After the BMI test (which concluded that I was underweight, but seemed to be a few pounds too low), the game recommended that I gain some weight through muscle via the strength training exercises. I set a goal to gain one pound in the next two weeks and then began the strength training.

I was very pleased with how both the strength training and yoga exercises turned out. Yes, you can do all of these without Wii Fit, but I think people are severely underestimating how beneficial it is to have a convenient interface that keeps track of your progress while you workout in the comfort of your own home.

The exercises vary from noticing when you complete a rep to maintaining your center of balance (COB) while performing certain motions. I noticed that the COB measure seems to fluctuate more than it should during certain exercises. The trainer urged me to stop shaking even if I was barely moving.

Still, I came out of the workouts feeling good like after a real workout because, honestly, that’s what Wii Fit has you do.

The aerobic training exercises are more fun, but most are coming off as mini-games so far. I have to say, the jogging game looks like it’ll be pretty fun (and useful) once I unlock the longer sessions. What’s cool about it is that your Mii jogs across a colorful island populated by all the Miis you’ve created. The exercise actually doesn’t use the balance board at all. Instead, you place the Wiimote in your pocket or hold it in your hand and then jog in place.

I’m not exactly sure yet what you have to do to unlock longer sessions/more reps for the exercises, but hopefully it won’t be too much of a hassle. To unlock more exercises, you have to earn credits by spending time in the other exercises. A little piggy bank collects your credits based on the amount of time you spend working out, but I’m not sure if the required credits for new exercises is displayed anywhere.

So far, I’m having fun and can tell that I getting a workout. What’s more important is that the novelty of the game helped me breeze through the exercises. Wii Fit really does make working out fun despite how silly it may seem.


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