I’ve had a Wii tucked away for a while now. I got it last fall, thinking it would be a great way for me to get some exercise at home in an entertaining way. I’m not a gym type AT ALL, and finding any kind of exercise that keeps me interested and motivated has been a lifelong challenge. And now that my mobility is so compromised, it’s even more of a challenge. There’s the warm water therapy pool that I can’t seem to get myself to; there’s chair yoga, but every time I do it I grieve for the wonderful yoga sessions I used to have when I could stand and balance and get up and down from the floor without major assistance, so I end up in an emotional puddle half way through each session.
Due to some rearranging in the cottage, we got rid of our clunky old TV and bought a new flat screen, the idea being it’s fairly portable, we can use it in the house or the cottage, and it’s just right for the Wii. The first week or so I was delighted to be able to view Netflix movies by streaming them through the Wii. Laurie asked me every few days how it was going with the Wii (she frequently encourages and subtly prods me to exercise). I’d run out of excuses. I pulled out the discs, dusted them off and played a few games of bowling, baseball and yes, even tennis. (Liza curled up in the corner of the couch, far away from me and my antics.) There’s nothing really skillful involved in these games, but it does give me some upper body exercise – I can do them sitting or standing. But I can see how losing interest in these games wouldn’t take very long.
Enter: Wii Fit, which includes a balance board and four training modes: balance games, aerobics, strength training and yoga. The board, which you stand on while doing the body tests and exercises, "talks" to the Wii console to measure things like BMI, actual age, weight, balance and posture. I had some trouble with the initial setup – it kept asking me if I was fidgeting while it was trying to get a reading. Fidgeting? No, that’s my normal way of standing. (I don’t think the Wii knew I was using a cane to stand either.) I was finally able to hold still long enough for it to get the information it needed. Then it put me through a battery of balance tests, which I’m supposed to do daily to track my progress.
I was exhausted by this time, so haven’t gone on to do any of the actual exercises, but I’m looking forward to that hula hoop! I was curious if there was information about using Wii with disabilities. I was happy to find these posts by a woman who has some direct experience with it – she explains some of the limitations and demonstrates modified exercises with the balance board.
I think it would be really cool if someone developed a Wii disc specifically for people with disabilities.