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Me Love Wii

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Have you ever wished you could slalom down ski slopes, head soccer balls, do yoga and walk on a tight rope all in the same room? OK, perhaps not. But couldn't your interests be piqued if you found out such a varied workout was possible? As it turns out, yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and yes, couch-potato-video-game-addicts everywhere, there is a game to whip your lazy butt into a fitness frenzy.

In an effort focused on family fun, the geniuses at Nintendo invented Wii, an interactive video game that forces kids to move more than just their thumbs to play video games. Nintendo released Wii in November 2006, just in time to fill Christmas wish lists everywhere. Stores couldn't keep them on the shelves even though prices for the Wii console were around $300. Since then, more than 24 million consoles have been sold worldwide.

Nintendo has reveled in Wii's wild popularity, but chose not to sit back and rest on its laurels. With Wii Sports being the company's best-selling game, Nintendo eagerly took its fitness regime up a notch. Last month, they released a new game called Wii Fit, which offers four different exercise methods (balance games, yoga, aerobics and strength training) to promote fitness. Not only does Wii Fit combine more than 40 games with traditional exercise methods, it also tracks a user's progress, weight and body mass index. It allows users to set goals for themselves and rewards them with points and the release of new games as those goals are attained.

Wii Fit uses the Wii balance board, a platform that measures a user's center of gravity and movement. When you start training, the game tests your balance and flexibility, weight and BMI to determine your "Wii fitness age." Oddly enough, my Wii fitness age was five years younger than my actual age, even though I rarely exercise and feel I could definitely stand to shed a few unwanted pounds. Also, my BMI fit into the normal range for someone my age and height. My husband's Wii fitness age, however, was six years older than his actual age, and his BMI was not within the normal perimeters, although he works out regularly and is in much better physical shape than I am. My only advantage may have been that I had practiced yoga before and have always been conscious of my posture.

With our test results documented in our Wii tracking calendar, my husband was determined to lower his age and BMI, and of course, I had to follow suit.

What did I find after working out with Wii Fit for a week?

Being a bit of a technophobe, I was super impressed with how user-friendly Wii Fit is. And I was having a much better time with Wii Fit than I ever did at the gym. The games are really fun, and my husband and I both found ourselves laughing and enjoying our workouts. My favorite games are heading soccer balls (watch out for the cleats being thrown at your head), the hula hoop and yoga training. My husband uses the strength-training games to do lunges, jackknives and push-ups, but also enjoys the balance games as well. After we began our training, we both noticed a difference right away. I became much more aware of my breathing and posture, and noticed the pounds started dropping within the first week.

Yes, it comes with a hefty price tag (about $90 for the game and balance board), but Wii Fit is a whole new tool in the fight to become a lean, mean, well-balanced machine. As an added bonus, it's perfect for people who shy away from gyms. I love that I can do yoga at home and have my efforts tracked for me. I also really love that my kids beg to use it every day. When they used to sit in front of computers and game cubes, now they are downhill skiing, hula hooping and heading soccer balls. In just one week, I found my family becoming Wii Fit addicts. Simply put, we love Wii,

For more information, visit nintendo.com.

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