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Wii arm, Wii back, Wii shoulder and Wii willy winkie

The debbidoo household has recently become converted to the magic of the Wii – and what an amazing product it is.

I’ve never had any real interest in computer games and consoles (though I’m thoroughly addicted to playing Scrabble on my phone… but I don’t think that really counts). For a start, I’m rubbish at remembering which buttons to press, in which sequence, and at the right speed. Having said that, I’ve always had a soft spot for helping Mr Doo play Tomb Raider; he’s excellent at the buttons but rubbish at observation, so I navigate and spot stuff while he works the controls – we’re a match made in heaven. But when it comes to remembering how to run, roll, shoot, jump and all the other things the buttons make you do – well, I’m rubbish, so I’ve long since stopped bothering to try.

So it was with real reluctance that I allowed myself to be roped into playing on my mate’s Wii at her recent birthday soiree – I was sure I would make a real idiot of myself. But once I got my hands on those controls, where you hardly need to press any buttons at all (it’s all based on the movement of the remotes, if you’ve not played one before) I found that here was a games console I could actually work.

When I got home I told Mr Doo about it, and he promptly popped out and bought one (possibly the only time in our ten years together that I’ve known him to act spontaneously – it was very weird), and immediately we were all hooked. It’s funny – I have no interest in sport, usually, but with Wii I’ve found myself getting into boxing, baseball and tennis – something I would never have expected.

The problem is, though, that all this flailing of the arms and hunching up with excitement and concentration when you’re racing round corners on little go-karts makes you use muscles you didn’t know you had, leading to a phenomenon that in the Doo household is known as “Wii arm”; this basically means you’re in so much pain, you lose the use of your arms for a few days. I knew I’d overdone it at the weekend when I woke up with a severe case of Wii shoulder – the muscles across my shoulder blades had completely seized up, and every time I moved my arms I yelled out in agony. Brushing my hair and undoing my bra felt like new forms of torture, and days later I’m still not quite back to normal.

It made me wonder, though, how long it will be before Wii sickness becomes an excuse for people to call in sick at work. “Sorry boss – can’t come in today, severe case of Wii arm – couldn’t possibly lift a feather, let alone stock shelves at Tesco.”

Still, there’s possibly one good side effect of Wii sickness… they say no pain, no gain, right? So judging by the amount of pain the Wii has caused me recently, something good must be happening to my very out of shape body. Which means that if I get a Wii fit (a platform that you stand on to do yoga, hula-hoops, tightrope walking and all sorts of other exercises) it’ll tone up a few other muscles I didn’t know I had. Sure, I’ll probably be confined to bed with Wii body for a few days, but by gum it’ll be worth it…

So my question today is this: Is the Wii a reasonable substitute for real exercise?

I hate the gym, walking bores me to tears, the swimming pool plays havoc with my hair, and don’t get me started on jogging. If anyone can confirm that a daily session on the Wii will provide me with a healthy amount of exercise, they’ll make me a very happy debbidoo indeed – and I’ll happily part with £69 for a Wii fit. It’ll be money well spent.

Below: video of the Wii fit in action.

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4 Responses to Wii arm, Wii back, Wii shoulder and Wii willy winkie

  1. LiamPT 20th May 2008 at 2:08 pm #

    As a personal trainer, and ex-gaming slob in my youth, I’m delighted that nintendo is now getting people up out of their chairs and moving around!

    I’ve played on a Wii and they’re great fun! Is the Wii Fit a reasonable substitute for real exercise? …that all depends on your goals.

    Things the Wii fit is good for:

    muscle function – using your muscles in the correct way.
    muscle tone – making your muscles firmer to the touch.
    core stability – a strong and stable mid-section.
    balance – the ability to stay on your feet when you’ve had a few!
    flexibility – being able to touch your toes!

    Things the Wii fit is not so good for:

    strength – being able to lift a large amount of weight.
    weight loss – burning off your excess fat weight.
    aerobic fitness – not getting out of breath walking up stairs!

    If you are a sendetary person looking to get your muscles working and tone up a bit then the Wii is great! If you’re looking to build up your aerobic fitness and/or lose weight then I’m afraid to say that the Wii lacks the intensity required…

    On the whole, at £69 I would definitely say it is worth getting hold of one!

  2. debbidoo 20th May 2008 at 2:14 pm #

    Brilliant Liam – thanks for adding your comment :)

    One question though… if the Wii tones your muscles, and having toned muscles speeds up your metabolism (I’m sure I read that somewhere), then doesn’t that in a very roundabout way help you burn calories and therefore lose weight?

    Or am I clutching at straws? Hehehe :D

    Having said that, anything that gets me moving has to be a good thing, whether I end up losing weight or not :)

  3. LiamPT 20th May 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    Hey debbidoo

    I’m afraid light muscle toning won’t have a significant effect on your metabolism. It’s only high-intensity resistance training, or building up lots of muscle, that speeds up your metabolism – http://www.theslimcompany.co.uk/blog/what-exactly-is-metabolism/

    Nevertheless, if you combine your Wii Fit training with a good healthy diet free of high glycaemic load carbohydrate I’m sure your weight will come down! :-)

  4. debbidoo 20th May 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    Ah well that’s easy enough… I’m not really a bread fan – if I do eat bread it’s always granary – and I have Splenda in my tea instead of sugar (very low GI) and I always have wholewheat pasta and basmati rice too… I did the GI diet for quite a while so I got into the habit of avoiding high GI carbs – a habit I thankfully haven’t lost (though I do still succumb to chocolate when I need a quick shot of happiness, hehe).

    Cheers for the advice Liam, I’ll let you know how I get on :D

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