Saturday, 10 May 2008

Fitness first

It is perhaps one of this world’s least well kept secrets: For the past couple of years, my fitness level keeps on deteriorating just as quickly as my weight keeps on reaching new record highs. There are some good reasons to explain why this is happening to me, but the best among these probably answers to the name of Dylan. Don’t get me the wrong way, I was already as fit as a dead ox when Dylan burst into the scene, it’s just that with Dylan around all hopes of rejuvenation are best classified as delusions. We even had to sell our treadmill as it was competing for space with Dylan himself in his room.
Recently, a silver bullet like solution has appeared on the scene armed with pretensions to address my fitness problems. Called the Wii Fit, it’s a Nintendo Wii game you play while standing on a weight like contraption that is sensitive to weight and weight distribution. Connect it wirelessly to a Nintendo Wii console, and it allows you to play/workout all sorts of exercises ranging from jogging, yoga and aerobics to offering daily tracking of your weight and balancing performance (as in, if you have a big stomach, it would show on your weight balance as your body's center of gravity tries to compensate for the bulge).
Although I never touched a Nintendo Wii joystick/non-chuck/mom-chuck/whatever-you-may-call-them controllers in anger yet, I have to say I have always been fascinated by the Wii and its potential. If it offers half the promise the Nintendo DS does with its touch screen, it should very much be the greatest gaming platform ever. The great thing about Wii Fit in particular is that it turns fitness into a game, just like Brain Training on the DS has turned math and other basic riddles into an entertaining game that manages to make a difference. If workout becomes a game rather than “work”, and you can even do it in without having to go “out” in the cold, then the Wii Fit can truly make a decently fit person out of me yet.
Which is exactly why I am going to use the rest of this post to explain why I will not be getting myself a Wii Fit.
For a start, there’s the issue of cost. The Nintendo Wii console starts at $400, and the Wii Fit costs an extra $150, which means that you need a minimum investment of $550 to start working yourself out in front of the TV. However, as any person should know, buying a games console doesn’t end like that; you need an extra joystick here and an extra later. Add a few more games that you would buy just because you own a Wii, and you’re easily looking at something north of $800. And I won’t even mention the immoral option of chipping your console, which would cost you a warranty and around $100. Normally, costs such as these would not stand between me and a gadget, but with the almighty project of extending our house looming over our bank account I now require a written approval from god (or Richard Dawkins) prior to any money spending. That said, in the long run the Wii Fit would be cheaper than gym membership.
Second, we have the issue of Space, otherwise known as the final front ear. Our living room is already dominated by Dylan’s playpen and his toys; if we want to fit the Wii Fit in and allow enough space around it for exercising we’d need to have an excavation session prior to each exercise (and also find Dylan a safe alternative dwelling, if he happens to be awake).
The above two reasons are nice, but it’s the third one that knocks the Wii out. It’s called Time, and it’s the most elusive resource on our hands at the moment. Namely, assuming we have the Wii Fit deployed and all, when would I use it? Sounds trivial, but it’s not: On a normal day, upon coming home from work, I’m tired, hungry and annoyed enough to be as energetic as a dead battery. I need not worry, though, because it’s just the right time for Dylan’s nightly routine. By the time Dylan is in bed I’m starving, and by the time we’re finished with our own dinner it’s already 21:00 and exercise is the last thing on my mind. Not to mention on my stomach, which by now full and not exactly exercise ready.
It is obvious that the introduction of a Wii into our house would be doomed. Sure, the initial wave of enthusiasm will mean that we will play with it, but after a month or two it would be left there to gather dust. With my fitness.

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