“Oh, come on… Do you really burn calories doing this?” I thought to myself as I stepped onto the Wii Fit Plus balance board. I recently read an article in a magazine that stated that yes, you burn calories, that it’s mild to moderate exercise (read non-aerobic), and that you need to spend less than twice as long to burn the same calories that you would, for example, by playing real tennis.
You might want everyone to get out of the room when you first get weighed, because it tells you if you are overweight, and by how much. Then your Mii (I have mine with a glamorous red-headed hairstyle) adjusts its shape accordingly. I heard of an overweight child crying when his Mii looked blimpy after he was weighed.
Now call everyone back in if you don’t mind them screaming at you that you’re doing everything wrong. If they voluntarily put tape over their own mouths, this might have gone more smoothly.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the games and what I thought about them:
- Island Cycling: Ride an imaginary bicycle through beautiful scenery. Unfortunately there is a cat that you feel you are about to run over at any moment. My kids kept telling me you can’t run over the cat, and to get rid of it, you have to fall into the river. It worked.
- Chicken Flapping Its Wings: I can’t remember what this one was called, but you have to flap your arms around, looking like a huge, fat chicken as you fly through the air. The kids laughed hysterically when I kept asking what the point was. You have to land on the circles on the water.
- Obstacle Course: Run forward on the obstacle course, making sure not to get hit with huge black swinging pendulums in the shape of one of those ball and chains that you get when you’re in prison.
- Table Tilt: Tilt the table to make sure the balls go into the holes in the table. There are lots of variations on this theme for balancing games, including making sure that certain colored balls go down ramps and get into the right colored baskets.
- Soccer Ball Head Butt: For some unfathomable reason, people start kicking lots and lots of soccer balls at you, and you have to head butt them. Then they get mean and throw spikey shoes and other objects that you’re supposed to avoid. I can’t help but scream, “Oww!” when I’ve been slammed in the head with a spikey shoe.
- Running: You run in place, past lots of beautiful scenery. There are many variations of this. You can definitely break a sweat and burn calories when you are doing the more highly aerobic exercises like running, cycling, or step aerobics.
- Step Aerobics: My youngest son is really good at this, and you’re fine at the beginning until you have to start stepping to the side and whatnot. It just seems impossible to keep up once you mess up your footwork.
- Hoola Hoop: Swirl your hips around to keep the hoola hoop going around. For some reason people keep throwing more hoola hoops at you, and you’re supposed to catch them and keep them going around simultaneously.
- Balance Bubble: Float down a river in a bubble, making sure not to crash against the sides of the river, bursting your bubble. I actually did really well on this one.
- Penguin Slide: Eat fish that come onto your piece of ice, keeping balanced on the ice so you don’t fall off into the icy water. No problem if you fall into the water, though, because they let you get back up again. The huge red fish is hard to get. “You have to flip the ice, Mom, so you can jump up and get it!”
Overall, I noticed my heart pounding for many of the exercises. There were strength training and yoga exercises that burn. So yes, they work your muscles. Overall, my kids seem to love it. Of course, when Mom plays it, everyone whoops with laughter and screaming for some reason. Maybe I’m just a fun person…Tweet