So I’ve decided to join a new gym…my living room! And while this may come off as being a bit slack, let me assure you that after playing EA SPORTS Wii Active this week – my muscles painfully disagree.
As a former regular gym attendee, I was thoroughly impressed by the quality and intensity of the workouts offered. There is an arsenal of over 25 individual exercises and drills to choose from categorised as upper body (eg: biceps curl, shoulder press), lower body (eg: lunges, squats), cardio (eg: running, dancing) and sports (eg: basketball, volleyball, tennis, inline skating). There are preset workouts ranging in target area, duration, and intensity as well as customisable ones which allow you to pick and choose the exercises that suit you best as you work toward your goals… an obvious improvement to Nintendo’s Wii Fit. In addition, you can also join the 30 Day Challenge administered by Oprah Winfrey’s fitness coach Bob Greene, which provides you with a new 20-minute workout each day that becomes increasingly demanding as your fitness level improves. Best of all, there is also a multiplayer option that allows you to work out with a friend in split-screen style!
You start by creating your personal profile, whereby you can customise your character (not a Mii but a proportional avatar) in appearance and fashion sense. Although there is an area to enter your stats, EA SPORTS Wii Active doesn’t focus too much on calculating inaccurate BMI’s or ‘fitness ages’. Next, head to your journal, a place where you choose your workout, input your eating habits, and any other activities that contribute to the day’s score. As you begin your workout, you will be greeted by both a realistic environment (which interchanges with the specific exercise) and a trainer who will instruct you in each exercise with a helpful video and provide real-time motivation or tips depending on how you are doing. I found this really helpful at keeping my pace and position correct. The game also comes with a leg strap used to hold the Nunchuck controller that tracks your lower body movements, combined with a peppermint-smelling resistance band which provides increased intensity for your upper body. Both are effective, although I can’t imagine the resistance band posing much of a challenge for buffer men – but that doesn’t mean they can’t incorporate other gear into their workout! And for those of you who happen to own the Balance Board, you’ll be happy to hear that it is compatible!
So what are the downsides? Aside from the slightly annoying and unavoidable intro music, there isn’t a whole lot I would change. Although there are plenty of exercises to choose from, there aren’t any that really work the abdominals. So I suggest adding some crunches to get a true full body workout. There also isn’t any attention given to the importance of stretching. Maybe it’s only a matter of time before Wii Active comes out with more exercises that are downloadable and can be added to your workout arsenal!
Even though Wii Active may not be able to keep super athletes in shape during their off-season, it can definitely make a difference for us couch potatoes or for those using it in addition to regular gym-going on the days where the biggest challenge is leaving the house. It can be especially useful for busy people, stay-at-home parents, the self-conscious, or people who simply dislike the gym atmosphere. Motivation is key to sticking to an exercise regime and it is well targeted here! So pick up a copy, get that heart rate going, have fun and lose a few kilos in the process!