Recommended Wii[tm] Gaming Console Fitness Options

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On 13 December 2009, [my brother] wrote:
A 411 on Wii, Wii Fit, and the Wii Enhanced Performance Kit if you please?

I'm not familiar with the Enhanced Performance Kit.

The Wii itself


The Wii, we like (note the internal alliterative rhyme, very common in Medieval poetry).

Of the two of us, I use it the most and mostly what I use it for is working out. And it works. I lost about 30 pounds between February and October 2009, taking me from about 15 pounds into the overweight realm to about 15 pounds into normalcy. That leaves me about 10 pounds over ideal, but I've kept it off, which is no mean feat considering the copious amounts of barbecue we consumed on your last visit, which reminds me that I should probably add a page on Kansas City barbecue ... later.

Be that as it may, I like both Wii Fit Plus (supersedes Wii Fit) and Sports Active, more on each of these below. I have also played some point of view shooter games (Medal of Honor and Ghost Squad) on it, but those are better on the PC and probably not something you'd find as interesting (though if you would, you'd probably find more pov shooters for Wii than for Mac).

Wii Fit Plus


Wii Fit Plus has more and better games than Wii Fit (unplussed) and journaling that includes exercise and weight tracking. The exercise tracking in Wii Fit Plus is improved over Wii Fit (unplussed) in that it projects calorie use against time and METS, where the Wii Fit (unplussed) just tracked time in three modes, half credit for light exercise, one to one credit for normal and double credit for intense, ignoring calorie use.

Both Wii Fit games include yoga exercises, strength training, cardio games and balance games.

Graphics in the games are Mii centered, cute little weeble-ish avatars that get kind of tiresome after a while. Graphics in the exercise and training are human-shaped trainers. The soundtrack for the games is typical cute Japanese game soundtrack, the strength and yoga exercises are less insipid. Both Wii Fit games require the balance board.

Unlike the (unplussed) Wii Fit, the Plus permits creation of Mii avatars and profiles for your pets. Only Zachary has taken advantage of this option thus far. It's not that Benny and Suzie are not interested in the whole fitness console thang. Benny loves to lick my face during yoga floor exercises that leave me vulnerable to that and Suzie has tried to do jack-knifes with me. It's just that I don't think I can lift either of them for the weigh in and I don't see an option for unassisted pet weigh ins in which they would simply sit on the balance board.

Still, by having created a Mii for Z, I can look forward to him joining me on my running and cycling trips around Wii Island. One of the more clever things about the execution of the Wii Fit games is that the avatars you create for friends and family who may never actually play the game themselves show up among the observers and fellow travellers who spur you on in the exercises and games. Dawn created a Mii for Doug, my friend who died back in '08, and I have to admit it always makes me smile when I see him cheering me on when I'm cycling or lined up next to me during the step aerobics.

The Plus version has more stuff than the (unplusssed) Wii in all four categories (duh).

Wii Fit Plus cardio includes cycling, running and boxing. Its balance games include a snowball fight ... a personal favorite because it has targets.

EA Sports Active

Electronic Arts

Sports Active has more fully developed workout routines across a broader range of strength-building exercises and cardio activities than either Wii, but no yoga.

Graphics are human-based throughout. There are soundtrack options that you can customize, and almost anything you come up with will be better than that perky drek in the background of Wii Fit Plus, but you're not going to want to download anything to your iPod. A balance board is supported and used in some exercises and activities, but is not required.

There are more cardio activities that mimic real-world sports in Sports Active than in either Wii Fit: boxing, tennis, running, basketball, baseball, roller blading; and they probably mimic their real-world models a little more closely.

And, like Wii Fit, Sports Active includes journaling of in-game and out-of-game activities; but, unlike Wii Fit, Sports Active does not track weight or include an ability to weigh in.

I can work myself to the point of being sore the next day in either system, but Sports Active offers the more robust workouts and much more granular control of workout intensity.

I did the 30-day Workout Challenge in Sports Active to get started, then switched back over to Wii Fit Plus for several weeks. But this past week I switched back to Sports Active. I'll probably continue to go back and forth between the two to keep a lot of variation in my work outs.

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