A full gym in your lounge (or kitchen)

The editors photographBy Andrew Taylor

I mentioned a little while ago that Pam and I had purchased a Nintendo Wii Keep Fit Plus machine and before I tell you about our experiences, a little word of warning. Especially if you are in your seventies, as I am!

If you don’t take regular exercise, start slowly. The newspapers are full of stories of people who have sprained muscles because they have been too rigorous with their new exercise machine. We have decided to start the first week with 10 minutes, building up, after seven days to 20 minutes which we will hold for a week before expanding towards our half an hour target. This we will hold at for the first month or so.

In addition, if you decide to buy second-hand, or even new on eBay, make sure you buy the Keep Fit Plus outfit as the previous “Wii Keep Fit” has far inferior electronics and nowhere near as many types of exercise.

Setting the parts together was not difficult. Nintendo have their own style plugs that are different to anyone else’s and, because of this, you can’t help but click everything into the right place. If you do have difficulties, your local eight year old should be able to set it up for you in seconds!

There are umpteen manuals and papers that come with it but don’t worry, providing you look at the grey Operators Manual – System Set-up, assembling is a doddle. There is a thick manual for the Wii Balance Board but 90% of this are in other languages. The English section is only a few pages. Ignore the thick Wii Keep Fit Plus manual as it is all in foreign languages, there is a separate thin English manual. Actually, the Keep Fit Plus is so intuitive, we have never even opened the manual but I will look at it in a month when I am totally familiar with everything just in case I am missing any finer points.

You have a decent choice of Yoga, Muscle Exercises, Aerobic Exercises and Balance Exercises. And as you progress, extra exercises are added to the lists. Then extra sections. These are all called rewards and to see what they are, you have to be exercising regularly. Otherwise you never get to the really fun ones.

As an extra bonus There is a Wii Sports DVD containing tennis, baseball, boxing, golf and bowling and, if you love this, you can purchase the full sports DVD with many more games. We have played golf, tennis and bowling so far and they are not only good, but make you take exercise.

Early conclusion: This is really fun, and a terrific way to exercise at home. Far better than going to a gym. Here you can exercise in your underpants, or knickers and bra (I chose the former) without worrying about onlookers. Also, you can fit in half an hour easier than a two hour (of travelling and exercising) visit to the gym. We are both totally hooked. When jogging on the spot, the Wii knows whether you are holding the control or whether you have put it in your pocket, it is that sensitive!

If you balance this against going to the gym, do take into consideration travelling time saved, petrol or fares saved, and gym costs. The whole Wii set-up costs £360.50 for the Wii at Amazon (don’t forget to use “EasyFundraising” so the Arrow benefits), which includes everything. No extra kit is needed (except for the sports disk which caters up to four people) for up to ten people to exercise which would include most families.

Please add £34.99 for an extra Wii Remote plus handset for each person wanting to play the extra DVD of sports matches (usually up to four players per game). However, sports taken in turns, such as golf and bowling can share a single control.

If you joined LA Fitness Gym in East End Road, it would cost £50 to join, and £571 per person per year. So you can see that the Wii is pretty good value for money. One last point. The help desk has an expensive 0870 number, but try 01753-483700, you may well get through as I obtained this from the www.saynoto0870.com website.

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