I realize I have been writing a lot about the Wii this week, but it is my latest toy - literally. However, the truth is that I bought it primarily because I had heard it had this fantastic exercise program that made getting fit easier and more fun than trekking off to the gym.
In my 60+ years, I've been able to defeat dozens of get-fit-easily schemes, so I have serious doubts about this Wii Fit, but I am ready to give it a fair go. Well, actually, I thought I was ready but now I am having second thoughts.
I picked it up Thursday and made the very bad mistake of reading the manual that came with it. It makes all this workout stuff seem only marginally safer than following Dr Jack Kevorkian's manual.
Let me give you an example.
"Consult your doctor before playing Wii Fit if you are pregnant or may possibly be pregnant, suffer from heart, respiratory, back, joint, or othopaedic problems, have high blood pressure, are diabetic, are not used to physical exercise."
Well, at least I am not pregnant.
But seeing that bit got me reading the rest of the warnings. It turns out that 1 in 4,000 people may have blackouts or seizures because they are playing video games. In fact, they offer very good advice. "Stop play immediately and consult a doctor if you or your child have any of the following symptoms: convulsions, eye or muscle twitching, loss of awareness..."
I am glad I read the booklet, because I am the sort who could go into convulsions and it wouldn't even occur to me to stop playing. I would just assume they call it Wii Fit because it, er, gives you fits.
Other great advice they offer: "If you feel symptoms such as tingling, numbness, burning or stiffness, stop and rest for several hours before playing again." Damn! That would never occur to me, either.
They also caution you against using the "rumble feature" of the remote control. "Do not use the Rumble feature while the Wii Remote is pressed against bony areas of the body, including the head, elbows and knees, or touching your skin such as around the face and abdomen, as it may result in pain or injuries."
Don't even know what the Rumble feature is, but you can bet I'm going to find out now. No way am I putting the remote against my head with that feature on.
If this begins to seem as if there is danger lurking at every moment, it gets worse. Apparently your socks can become lethal with Wii Fit, which comes with a balance board you stand on. The company cautions: "Be sure to use the Wii Balance Board barefoot. Using it while wearing socks or shoes could lead to falling, accidents, injuries, damage to household objects."
But you know, all of this isn't the scariest thing about Wii Fit. The truly frightening bit is that when you first start using Wii Fit, it measures your balance and body mass index. Seeing that information up on the TV screen is the chief reason I am going to put this off for another day or two.