A Wii Little Fitter

Who wouldn’t want to exercise in the comfort of their own living rooms?

No sweaty gym lockers, no mucky showers, no prying eyes and no steroid-head Brad Pitt gym instructors.

Marketed as the fun way to get fit in your own living room , the Nintendo Wii Fit was launched in South Africa in 2008. Ninentendo’s PR machine got to work churning out press releases and called it a ‘fun and healthy way to get fit’ that ‘uses the latest technology to assist you in leading a healthier lifestyle’. It sounded like we’d heard it all before (I’m ashamed to admit my addiction to informercials), but for the sake of the journalistic integrity COSMO prides itself on, we put our disdain for corporate communication aside and stepped onto the Balance Board.

The Wii Fit is easy enough to set up and connect to your television, and doesn’t require much space – as say a small home gym would. The wireless balance board’s shape may trouble users who aren’t particularly fond of measuring scales, but it’s a nifty device that uses numerous pressure sensors to assess your centre of balance.

After being prompted to step on the board, the first thing that’s put to the test is your current level of fitness and your Wii Fit age and BMI is calculated. Then it’s on to the ‘games’. There are four main activities to choose from: yoga, aerobic exercises, balance games and muscle workouts. Hard core gymmers might find the Wii Fit a bit juvenile as you are at first only allowed to access a few of the exercises, but the more workout hours you clock the more exercises you unlock – there are 40 in total.

The Wii Fit also features a virtual trainer who demonstrates new routines and exercises, and motivates you along the way. Unfortunately after a while this voice becomes a bit annoying, but hey, that’s why the mute function on your TV’s remote was invented.

The interactive channel allows you to track your progress, and if more than one person is using the same balance board, you can compare your results.

But with this all-in-one, in-home exercise machine available to anybody who has a spare R1 500 in their wallet, will it ever replace the conventional gym? Probably not.

We can’t take the Wii Fit seriously when all it really is built on is standard exercises like sit-ups and push-ups and trying to keep your balance on par with a little red dot. I’ll admit that I had fun snowboarding, tight-rope walking and dodging soccer balls thrown at my head, but when it comes to a serious sweat-dripping, muscle-burning workout, the Wii Fit is found wanting.

You won’t dramatically drop three jeans sizes, but if you’re looking to have fun (it is a ‘game’ after all), the Wii Fit is for you. For everybody else, I’ll see you at Bums and Tums next week.