I have never been a fan of computer games - you know, PlayStation, etc. I just don't get it. Haven't got the hand-eye coordination or the patience for it. Our beautiful Will (who is now NINE, can you believe it!) is hugely into all types of gaming devices. He has a GameBoy (old hat now), PlayStation Portable (PSP) and a PlayStation 3 (which is an amazing peice of technology completely wasted on me). All this technology, and the wonderous games which come with it, are all care of Dodo (my dad and Will's doting grandad) who is undoubtedly reliving his own childhood through all this gadgetry.
[My dad is a big fan of technology. I was the only kid I knew, or have ever known, who had a vertical Sony record player. That's right, it was a sort of solid upside-down U-shaped device into which the LPs slid into vertically and rotated around as they played. I think it was a horrible flop for Sony as it could not deal with any imperfection in the record and almost every record I owned was impossible to listen to. But my friends were at least temporarily impressed.]
Anyway, for Will's 9th birthday a week and a half ago my dad bought Will a Wii console and a truck load of accessories (tennis raquets, laser swords, golf clubs, the crazy list goes on). To me this seemed like a better gaming alternative because it at least keeps the kids active as they quite literally play tennis or ten-pin bowling in the middle of the living room.
At the time I didn't realise that this little gaming console had a special surprise for me (and Big Jay). Last week they realised a new accessory for the Wii - Wii Fit - and let me tell you this is a fantastic bit of technology much more suited for adults than kids. It's kind of like a personal trainer you can keep tucked away in the living room and bring out when the kids are asleep. First of all it does a fitness assessment - weight, height, BMI, centre of balance and tells you how much weight you should loose to get into a healthy range (luckily only 3.3 kg for me - that's manageable). Then you choose your male or female personal trainer and away you go.
The options include Yoga, Muscle Workout and Balance Games. You get a FitBank which accumulates time spent exercising and gives you bonus new games and activities when you reach certain goals. We have both tried Yoga and the Balance Games so far and they are fantastic, really fun, reasonably easy-ish and very encouraging of your efforts. The main thing is we can't wait to get back on it and improve.
I'm not saying it's going to turn you into a super athlete but it does do lots of good things for your core stability, balance and muscle toning. So together with my now regular workouts in our downstairs gym I am starting to feel quite a bit fitter. Best of all we have so much fun with it. If you want a laugh come over and watch me try the Soccer Header game (so much harder than it looks) or the Downhill Skiing or better still the Tightrope Walking.
So if the kids are begging for a Wii game for their birthday or Christmas I can recommend it, but we warned your poor kids might not actually get a look in as you hog it for your "exercise".