February 4, 2009



Wiitm and Wiitm Fitness are registered trademarks of Nintendo of America. I've tried to be careful about putting the tm symbol in but it doesn't work in some places such as the title and labels.

Did you get a new Wiitm for Christmas, it's all installed, and you're comfortable using it? Great fun, isn't it! The bowling and boxing are big in our household, but this past week, I've taken the fun to a whole new level with Wiitm Fitness. The folks who came up with this program are absolutely geniuses!

I can try to describe this fitness program, but you really, really have to try it just once to totally understand how awesome it is. First off, let me confess that I've tried going to gyms and it's just not me. I don't like driving, especially in our Maine winters, then I really just don't like being there, although I certainly fell in love with their elipitical machines. We do have a treadmill at home and of course plenty of hand weights.

So obviously the first appeal of Wiitm is using it right in front of the tv, never leaving home and wearing whatever I feel like. The system consists of your Wiitm basic box, hand control, a balance board, a CD, and from there on, with the explicit directions and pictures, it could not possibly be simpler WITHOUT ever seeming simplisitic.

There's a body test you can do or skip. I wanted it as a baseline, or maybe I was just feeling masochistic. It told me my weight (a little over), BMI (only a couple of points too high) , Wiitm Fitness age (this one hurt), and then assessed my balance, something I knew would need work. Yup, I do.

This feels like a very individualized program, and I especially like it keeping track of the time I spend in the Fitness Plaza and the stamp I put on the calendar after each day's visit. I've LOVED seeing my weight and BMI nudge downward, no matter how slightly each few days.

Now when I started, I had visions of the same old-same old exercise routines, but what a stunner when I found out how much just plain fun this program is! There are four areas to work in - yoga, strength, aerobic, and balance training. I headed straight to the balance area.

First, I got to try being a soccer goalie trying to head off balls kicked at me. HA! Then a ski slalom making the gates (or NOT!) just by leaning my body on the balance board. Then on to the ski jump (a favorite), next a devilish "game" where you use body motions to try to get balls through holes on a tilt table.

The tightrope walk was a real challenge as you have to "jump" over a machine coming toward you in the middle of the crossing. Each of these "games" is separate so you can do the ones you want, each is only a few tries and then you can move on or retry the one you're doing a few more times. You get scores and see yourself improve on the spot.

In the aerobics area, I love the hula hoop, something I've never been good at in real life but which I can do pretty well here, even with people tossing more hoops at me as I twirl on that balance board. There's a 3-minute, well-paced run, which turns out to be one of my strengths.

Because I already work with weights every other day, I haven't been to the strength training area yet, but I visited the yoga center and I was impressed. I've gone to yoga classes on and off for years and this "instructor" (I chose a female trainer) with her very clear modeling of the poses...well, this is as well done as any class I've ever had.

No! NO, honestly, I am not a paid Wiitm promoter! The myriad uses for this program with a wide variety of users should be obvious. While it's being used in some rehab settings already, most anyone could benefit from it, certainly the elderly who could often benefit from the balance and other targeted activities, without leaving home, and in whatever little pieces can be managed.

Although I'm only at the beginner level for just about every activity, I see - and feel - progress. I reallly feel as though I've given you the most cursory overview of this fitness program, but I hope it'll inspire you to consider whether it might fit your fitness needs in a way you'd actually consistently use. I'll let you know how it goes, but so far, it's been all fun and games!