dalekboy (dalekboy) wrote,

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Wii Fit

I've mentioned doing the Wii Fit thing on here a couple of times, so now it's time to expand on that a little.

Basically, I cope ok with dealing with a child. I eat breakfast, get a little bit done around the house, and do all the things I need to do for Lex, and some of the things I want to do for and with him, such as play and reading, and all that sort of good stuff. Still not always doing as much as I'd like, but am aware that it's a lot more than some folks.

I'm still always behind on numerous non-house and non-Lex related tasks that really sort-of need to be done.

However, as I originally stated, Lex was the best physio-therapy a post-stroke Danny could have. The physical strain of dealing with his needs and keeping up with him would increase gradually, and unlike regular exercise or physio, I couldn't opt-out just because I was really struggling. He wasn't going to be able to feed or change himself, so I had to have my day of 'exercise' with him.

It's been good. I've improved markedly. I still struggle from time to time, but there has only been one day when I had to call Sharon at work and tell her to come home because I wasn't going to be able to keep up, and that was quite recently when I was fairly unwell.

But with new bub on the way I knew I'd be flat out keeping up. In fact I probably wouldn't. It's one thing starting out with a newborn, it's another to have the stresses of a newborn added to the already very active toddler. So I needed to start to build up my fitness levels fairly substantially.

The problem was, finding time to exercise around Lex's needs and my own limitations. My daily walks had faded for a couple of reasons, though a big one was the time of day I was free to walk was when Lex went down for his mid-day snooze. Going for a brisk 30+ minute walk on a day when it's muggy and 35 degrees? No, don't think so, especially considering I'd be coming home, having to choke down food, then deal with Lex all afternoon.

Same for riding my bike. I like to go for long rides. I could probably do this in the evening when Sharon gets home, but by then I'm usually stuffed. In the mornings doesn't work so well because I basically wake when Lex does, and I'm not up to waking an hour before to get that exercise in.

So I started to look at my options. A gym membership is no good to me unless I have someone going with me. They need to be someone motivated, because then just them wanting to go to gym, even if it's at 6am or at the end of the day when I'm stuffed, will be enough to make me push myself to go. Once we have a routine of going, I'd be fine and able self-motivate and also give them a push, but with no-one like that nearby, it was out.

I seriously wondered about the massive expense of a personal trainer. I baulked at the idea of the cost, but I needed to do something fairly substantial to get my fitness up before the baby arrived. Once the baby arrived, it wouldn't matter so much, I'd have hopefully gotten myself to a reasonable level and keeping up with both kids would do the rest of the work. But still the money involved was likely to be excessive.

But then, I had a conversation with ariaflame, and she suggested trying out the Wii Fit as an option. Aria had been using it for a while, and knew a few other people who had been using it with reasonable results. It was a significantly cheaper option than the gym or a trainer, and I had always thought that if I was going to buy a console for the house, I'd opt for that one since it requires a certain level of activity from the people playing on it.

Then after chatting about all this to a friend of mine, Glenn, he kindly offered me the loan of his family's Wii Fit set-up so I could give it a try before I laid out the cash. So went over and his wife and kids took me through the basics, then I brought it all back home and set it up.

Wii Fit was pretty easy to use and work out, and the exercises started you off with low level stuff and then unlocked other more challenging ones as you did more or got better at the easier exercises. The range was also good, with the yoga, aerobic, muscle, and balance games. Given that one of the major things that can still leave me exhausted is my balance issues, I particularly liked having something that worked on improving my balance.

I was sold the first evening, and found that I had no problem doing half an hour or more in a session. Well, I say no problem, I was usually exhausted and drenched in sweat by the end of it, but that's a good thing. I rarely sweat during a brisk walk, so it's a pretty good indication that I was being pushed to a reasonable level.

As luck would have it near the end of that first week, Toys R Us had a special going where you could get the Wii console, Wii Fit Plus, balance board, Mario Cart, and a little steering wheel, for $440. So I picked that up, returned Glenn's Wii set-up to him with grateful thank-yous and apologies to his wife for the Wii Fit stuff where I had bettered her score (while still swearing about the ones where she was waaaay better than me) and got mine set up.

Wii Fit Plus has a bunch of extra games and such, so that's kind of good. I'm less sold on the initial set-up of the yoga etc. since all the positions are opened right at the start - I liked the build and feeling of achievement when you opened a new one. It encouraged me to try out the new ones.

That said, it has a bunch of other settings where you can choose an area you want to work on and it'll pick a bunch of exercises for you to do. That's quite handy because it does bring up things, such as the yoga positions like the Tree Pose and the Downward Facing Dog Pose, that I always swear about and then do. I probably wouldn't be picking these to do anywhere near as often if I was making my own choice. So it's swings and roundabouts.

At this point I've been doing it almost every day for six weeks. Missed a couple of days due to Cooma visits and such, though some of those I still at least did some basic stretching. Most days I average 45 minutes of exercise, usually in one sitting, though occasionally I'll break it up by doing half an hour in the morning, and then do some more in the afternoon or evening. Some days I'll do an hour, and once in a while an hour and a half.

So, what has been the outcome? Well, so far I've lost a couple of kilos, so that's a good start right there. My balance has definitely improved, I can feel the difference in my daily life, and see an improvement on the games. I'm noticing my posture more, which is interesting, and tending to correct it more often too.

I've never been able to touch my toes. I've just not been quite that flexible, even during my teenage years. When I started out on the Sun Salutation yoga position, my fingertips were six inches away from my delicate toesies, which was about normal for me. But over six weeks, I've been been getting slowly closer and closer (without, I should add, trying to stupidly force it), until today when on the last round I touched and held the position. I wasn't that flexible twenty-five years ago when I weighed roughly 30% less than I currently do, so that's a pretty big improvement.

And, as most people who exercise regularly will tell you, I'm finding I have more energy. Maybe not heaps more, but again, I can see the improvement. As with these things, I actually find my energy levels for the day are better if I do my main bout of exercise in the morning. Yes, it can knock me around a little, but I still find that on the days where I start out with exercise, I'll get a bit more done.

Don't get me wrong, the Wii Fit option isn't the be-all-and-end-all, I'd actually prefer to be walking, riding the bike, and so on, but for someone who tends to be time poor, this is a good compromise. I can exercise while Lex is up and about and he'll spend some of the time watching me. And when I'm finished, he'll stand on the balance board, stomping his feet and swinging his arms the way he sees dad doing. Which is cute :)

It's also got the advantage that on a busy day, I have the option of spreading my exercise out, doing ten minutes here or there, since the Wii keeps track of how much I've done. The majority of days I do 45 minutes in a solid chunk, but occasionally I get there the long way round, so it's nice to know I've still managed a good amount of exercise.

There's lots of other aspects of this that I haven't really touched on, but mostly I'm feeling happy that I'm getting to do my exercise, that I'm seeing results, and I'm enjoying the process.
Tags: health, reviews, slice of life, the oven

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