Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wii Fit for Seniors

First of all – let me clarify. At 73 I’m really not a senior, I’m in the second half of middle age.

Now that that’s clear, here I am, hurtling down a ski jump at 50 mph, knees bent, – I reach the lip of the jump and I’m off, leaning forward, skis together, perfect form, and wow – I made 270 feet. The best part of that is I don’t have to climb the steps to the top of the lift to jump again.

Fred and I gave each other a Wii console, including the Wii Fit for our 50th anniversary. Like many people my age my great fear is falling. A sprain, tear or break could lead to a pretty radical change in life style, and I don’t want that to happen to me.

So, with the Wii Fit, I stand on the balance board and do a series of exercises that not only improve my balance (believe it or not I can stand on one leg now!) but I can do yoga, aerobics and strength exercises in my living room. Each day as I get on I am measured, and my balance is evaluated. I am given a “Wii Fit” age, and a few times I’ve even been in my 20’s. I have a choice of personal trainers who give me encouragement. “Well done” they say, or “It looks like you’ve had trouble with that one. Keep trying.”

The animated trainers are depressingly agile, but I mind it less than I think I would with real people at a gym. In my living room, I’m not competing with slender young women in the early part of middle age.

I love the balance exercises, the salaam skiing and ski jumping. I’ve done pretty well with the snow board, too. I am terrible at the hula hoop, but I am full of admiration for my granddaughter, Elizabeth, who at 7 is a real pro. Ten year old Nate is best at the push up/plank exercises. In fact, it is Nate’s record that I try to beat ski jumping. That isn’t likely to happen any time soon. The boxing coach is downright insulting, but I don’t box much in real life anyway.

The Wii Fit was released in May of 2008, and is already the fifth best selling game of all time according to the Wikipedia. Maybe that’s because it’s fun and probably good for you whatever age you are. Combining the regimens of the Wii Fit with my daily walks around the neighborhood, will keep me, I hope, in the latter half of middle age for a long time.

I understand that there is a Wii Fit Plus coming out. I’m happy with what I have, but it’s nice to know that if I tire of it there will be more. I wonder if the Wii Fit Plus will have an upper middle aged slightly overweight personal trainer?