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.