Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Working Out With My Wii

I dislike working out. I’ve never been a person who enjoys going to the gym and sweating it out in front of a bunch of people. Also, exercising for the sake of exercising bores me. Stepping on a treadmill or stairmaster immediately diverts my eyes to the clock, counting down the minutes until I can get off the machine and move on with my life. I much prefer exercise in the form of a sport, like tennis, walking around the neighborhood, in-line skating, or skiing. (Riding a bike around the Chicago streets is something I’m still trying to build up the courage to do.)

Aerobics I do like, particularly step, which has gone out of fashion in favor of spinning, zumba, and all these other classes with strange names. But again, going to aerobics class requires me to get off my lazy ass, change my clothes, and take the train or drive my car or walk over to the gym. The odds of this happening on a freezing cold day during the Chicago winter are slim to none. Some of my co-workers go to the gym for an hour during the day, but the last thing I want to do in the middle of the day is get all sweaty and have to get ready all over again.

Enter the Wii – particularly the body moving games for the Wii. This has been my savior. To get motivated to exercise, I need to be doing something I find fun, and also something that is so close I can’t come up with any reasonable excuse not to do it. With the Wii downstairs in my basement, there is no excuse not to go down there and get my heart rate going for half an hour or an hour three or four times a week. Sometimes I actually spend two or three hours without even realizing it because I’m having so much fun.

There are, of course, exercise “games” that aren’t quite as fun, like The Biggest Loser, but I can do a twenty or thirty minute routine or one of the challenges to get my really hard exercise on, then move on to something I find more fun, like hula hooping on the Wii Fit Plus. (I challenge anyone to do Super Hula Hoop for nine minutes and not be a sweaty mess at the end.) Even the balance games on the Wii Fit Plus, while not hard cardio workouts, feel like they are working the muscles. (I have a terrible sense of balance. You should see me trying to do the skateboarding and snowboarding games. Awful. But, I try it again and again in an effort to get a higher score, and next thing I know, I’ve worked my legs and abs quite a bit with all the body shifting involved.) The Wii Fit Plus games certainly aren’t for people who want a super intense workout, but when you had to drag yourself down to do anything remotely active on a certain night, it is better than nothing, and a fun way to kill a half an hour. Tennis for Wii Sports is also decent for getting the body moving a little bit on nights when I’m not as ambitious.

My favorite “work out” game so far is My Fitness Coach. This is aerobics and strength training, but it is tailored to your fitness level, you can select what you want to work (i.e. full body, legs, arms, core), how long you want to work out, and the routine changes each time. This is essential for me, because I get bored of the same workout really fast – hence my boredom with the canned routines in The Biggest Loser. The music isn’t bad, and Maya, the fitness coach, yells at you when you miss a workout. I don’t like it when Maya yells at me. After different sections of the workout, you can tell Maya if it was too easy, just right, or too hard, and she changes the workout the next time to account for it. So, as I get in better shape, the workout gets harder. I’m totally addicted to this game, although there are certain moves she does that I hate and I wish I could tell the game not to include those in my workout.

Over the weekend I bought Just Dance 2. This is the first of the “dance” games I’ve bought. I once tried Dance Dance Revolution at my sister’s house, and was awful at it, although to be fair, it was 2:30 in the morning after a night of drinking and I’d already taken out my contacts so I really couldn’t see the arrows on the screen. Let me just say that Just Dance 2 might be my new favorite game. The deal is you hold the Wiimote and do exactly what a dancing figure on the screen is doing. (I hear this is like zumba.) There are a ton of really fun songs that aren’t covers, and various levels of intensity and difficulty. I did about ten songs the other night and felt like I was going to collapse. It is quite a workout. You just want to keep going and doing it again and again in order to master the dance moves. In fact, I’ve done it for at least an hour every night since I bought it. My favorites so far are Proud Mary, Hey Ya, Girlfriend, Jump in the Line, and I Want You Back. (Dancing like a young Michael Jackson really is quite fun.) The good thing about this game is that no one can see me while I’m doing it, because I am really uncoordinated and look kind of foolish, especially since I’m still trying to master the moves, and because my muscles aren’t quite up to the task yet on some of them. I will get better, though!

God, I can’t wait to get home from work so I can dance some more. There are so many songs left to try!

And now back to my regularly scheduled program of drafting a response to a motion to compel.  Not nearly as fun as Just Dance 2


  1. I HATE the gym too! Would much rather get a workout from insane cleaning or yard work... but you can't do that all the time. You're making me want a Wii badly!

  2. Get a Wii! It's totally changed my life as far as exercising! Totally worth the money, because it is really fun so you will want to do it.