The Wii Fit Plus with its 60+ customisible exercises is one of the most fun ways to keep fit, track your progress, and keep up your motivation. The Wii Fit was sold out and going at inflated prices for many months after its March 2008 launch, but supply has stabilised, and the November 2009 release of the improved Wii Fit Plus refines this already excellent home exercise platform.
The Wii Balance Board connects to the Wii game console (which itself is down in price to £140), which weighs you and tracks BMI, as well as conducting all manner of exercises by tracking movement in your center of balance. The exercises include:
Yoga: Deep Breathing, Half-Moon, Dance, Cobra, Bridge, Spinal Twist, Shoulder Stand, Warrior, Sun Salutation, Tree, Downward Facing Dog, Standing Knee, Palm Tree, Chair, Triangle, as well as three new exercises for Wii Plus, Spine Extension, Gtae, and Grounded V
Strength: Single Leg Extension, Sideways Leg Lift, Arm and Leg Lift, Single-Arm Stand, Torso Twists, Rowing Squat, Single Leg Twist, Lunge, Push-Up and Side Plank, Jackknife, Plank, Tricep Extension, Push-Up Challenge, Plank Challenge, Jackknife Challenge, as well as three new Strength exercises for Wii Fit Plus, Balance Bridge, Single-Leg Extension, and Side Lunge
Aerobics: Hula Hoop, Super Hula Hoop, Rhythm boxing, Basic Step, Advanced Step, Free Step, Basic Run, 2-P Run, Free Run
Balance Games: Soccer Heading, Ski Jump, Ski Slalom, Snowboard Slalom, Table Tilt, Tightrope Walk, Balance Bubble, Penguin Slide, Lotus Focus, as well as 15 new Balance Games for Wii Fit Plus, Perfect 10, Island Cycling, Rhythm Kung Fu, Driving Range, Segway Circuit, Bird's Eye Bullseye, Snowball Fight, Obstacle Course, Tilt City, Rhythm Parade, Big Top Juggling, Skateboard Arena, Table Tilt Plus, Balance Bubble Plus, Basic Run Plus.
You'll soon develop a preference for mixing and matching these--for instance, one of our reviewers likes to start off with four Yoga exercises to limber up, then four strength exercises, then do 12 minutes of running and some step aerobics, with the occasional gut-busting hula hoop (who knew it could be so hard?) and boxing for variety. Another reviewer likes to start with a 5 minute run to get the heart rate up, then mix and match exercises, rewarding herself with a few balance games at the end. Others like to do a day of floor work exercises for both Yoga and Strength every few days.
One of the more innovative ideas is you can set up a Free Run or Free Step aerobics to run on sound commands from the Wii remote, meaning you can even switch the channel to watch TV while you do a workout (for step aerobics the remote speaker will count out one, two, three, four or click to keep you in time). This is a pretty effortless way to work out, and one of our reviewers actually raised the balance board on a couple of pieces of wood to make the step aerobics a bit tougher. We actually found running (which is done in place with the Wii remote in your pocket to track steps) among the most beneficial--there are various courses (and new ones in Wii Fit Plus) as you navigate the island.
There are some criticisms of the Wii Fit--the original version had many menus and delays in between exercises, which prevented your heart rate from staying elevated. This was fixed in Wii Fit Plus version, where you decide the amount of time you want to spend working out at the outset, select the body part focus, then either accept a recommended exercise progression or customise your own workout. The new seamless flow from exercise to exercise makes it effortless to work out--time really flies when you're doing the workouts. Wii Fit Plus will also generate calorie burned estimates by evaluating the MET value (metabolic equivalent) of the exercises you complete. One reviewer does 6 exercises (10-15 minutes) on the Wii Fit Plus to get the heart rate, up, then does 20 minutes on a crosstrainer, followed by a 3 exercise cooldown on the Wii again, and then enters the crosstrainer data into the Wii tracking software for an accurate gauge and record of total calories burned, aiming for 300 total calories per session.
We can't praise the Wii Fit Plus enough--it has transformed the workout habits of our reviewers, and makes it much more likely you'll stick with a fun workout regime. You can even track progress in other workouts on the Wii by entering how many minutes you did on non-Wii exercises, so you'll have a running total of workout time, weight, and BMI over time. It may not be cheap, but in our opinion the Wii Fit Plus is one of those rare pieces of home fitness equipment that you'll not just keep using year after year but keep on enjoying too.
Prices: The Wii Fit Plus balance board and "game" retails for £89.99, but you can get it much cheaper on Amazon for around £74.99. If you already own the original Wii Fit, then you only need the upgraded "game,"
which costs £17.96 on its own.