Photo: Courtesy of Nintendo
The Wii Fit workout game has radically altered home exercise. For less money than you'd shell out for a couple of hours with a personal trainer, the Wii Fit ($90) offers limitless sessions with a virtual trainer; all you have to do is convince your kids to give you some time on their Wii console. Here's how it works: You stand on a wireless platform (on which you do yoga postures, lunges, and balance challenges) while holding the Wii remote, and the program corrects your form while tracking your balance, BMI, and long-term progress. Following its debut in May 2008, Wii Fit became the third-best-selling console game in the industry. Now it's getting competition from two new Wii-compatible competitors. We tested both, and here's what we found:
EA Sports Active (with Bob Greene)
Cost: $60; EA Sports
Setting: You create an avatar who mimics your moves in a computer-animated background that includes sunlit lawns and wooded paths.
The Experience: Daily workouts incorporate resistance training, aerobic exercise, and a few fun activities like batting practice and tennis. You place one part of the Wii remote in a leg strap during lunges and squats so that the virtual trainer can critique your form; a resistance band allows you to increase the intensity of your upper-body workouts.
Fun: There's a seemingly endless variety of workouts and fitness games.
Caveat: Shifting the Wii controller back and forth from your hand to the leg strap can be distracting.
Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009
Cost: $40; Majesco Entertainment
Setting: You create an avatar who represents you as you navigate through a jungle filled with exercise challenges.
The Experience: The tried-and-true aerobic and strength-training routines are unlikely to hold anyone's interest for long, but the games are a different story: They include logrolling, kayaking, and tossing cannonballs at targets—games so engrossing that you may not realize how hard you've been working until you're sweat-soaked and an hour has slipped by.
Fun: The games have a multiplayer option so that you can compete against your family or friends.
Caveat: The onscreen instructions sometimes leave out crucial information, and the avatar can be slow in responding to your movements.
From the May 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!