Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Being a Wiikling

We have the usage of a Wii for an undetermined period of time, and I hope I never have to give it up.

Exercising while chronically ill can be a tricky business. I enjoy doing some very gentle yoga, but anything strenuous or inverted triggers pain, nausea, and other migraine symptoms. I go for hikes, but I almost always end up head-injured, because while I love using my body and climbing difficult slopes, too often I don't realize I've gone too hard until it is way too late.

The Wii is an interesting balance of having a controlled environment and challenging, engaging exercises with visual stimuli to keep my brain interested and off the minor pains. I've been trying out the Wii Fit, and I really like it. The instructions for exercises are easy to follow, even with the sound off, and I like how the game opens up new exercises as I master the initial offerings.

I was a little disappointed to find that some of the "encouragements" are rather body-shaming. The body test calculates bmi, which is an extremely unreliable indicator of health, and later, while doing the side stretch exercise in the yoga series, the trainer talks about how we're trimming my waistline, and how I should visualize the body I want.


Maybe this kind of motivation is helpful for other people, but it makes me feel icky inside, and takes my head straight out of the pose I'm trying to hold. I'm perfectly fine with the way my body looks, it's my strength and flexibility I'm actually trying to work on, THANKS Wii.

And there are a few exercises that are not working for me, in a migraine-specific regard. The ski jump, for example, requires me to squat and look up at my tv screen to see when to "jump". Unfortunately, within seconds of attaining the pose, my neck is cramping, my eyes are aching, and the nausea is welling in my chest, making me wonder how much ginger ale I've got in the house. It's a fun game, I kept trying it even after it had proven to be painful, but it's really no good for me and I'll be staying away from that one from now on.

It's the original Wii we've got here, with just a few borrowed games. I know I'm about a hundred years behind the times in terms of gaming, but when you're poor, it's hard to get a hold of the newest thing. Plus, I'm old, so I don't care so much what's cool anymore.