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Will Wii Fit Get You off the Couch?

You don’t have time to go to the gym. A personal trainer isn’t in your budget. Your workout buddy bailed. These are all common excuses for not exercising, but thanks to the newly launched Wii Fit from Nintendo, you can work out anytime from the comfort of your own home. In other words, with this device you have no excuse!

The Wii Fit ($89.99, nintendo.com) comes with a balance board engineered to sense weight and shifts in movement and balance. (The Wii console is sold separately for $249.99.) The system features four categories – strength training, aerobics, yoga and balance games – with more than 40 exercises designed to improve balance and fitness.

Create your own personal profile, measure your Body Mass Index (BMI), and track your progress on screen. The device provides graphs that monitor your training and stores up to eight profiles, so you can challenge family and friends to compete.

“It really is about the mixing of fun and fitness,” says Denise Kaigler, Nintendo of America’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs. “Most people want to have a healthy lifestyle and with Wii Fit you’re actually going to enjoy doing it.”

Like having a personal-trainer-in-a-box, strength training provides one-on-one instructions, which are both spoken and displayed on the screen. While guiding you through exercises such as push-ups, lunges and leg extensions, the machine counts your reps and offers advice to help you improve your form.

The yoga program provides similar instructions for mastering warrior, half moon and tree poses. While a good alternative for those who can’t afford a personal trainer or make it to a class at the gym, doing downward dog in front of the TV doesn’t feel very Zen and the exercises easily become monotonous.

The balance games and aerobic exercises prove more fun and engaging. With activities ranging from Tightrope Walking and Snowboard Slalom to Rhythm Boxing and Basic Step, there’s something for every type of athlete. In Soccer Heading, you guard the goal by heading soccer balls while dodging shoes and other items flying at your head. In Hula Hoop, you swing your hips around while trying to catch additional hoops being thrown your way. These are the types of games that make you forget you’re working out.

While it may sound like nothing more than a glorified video game, Nintendo has partnered with the American Heart Association to support its efforts to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.

“We’re trying to get people motivated,” says Dr. Johnny Lee, member of the American Heart Association’s Board of Directors. “What this machine does is allow people of all different fitness levels to be physically active.”

So whether you’re an athlete looking to track your progress or a novice who needs motivation to get off the couch, Wii Fit can challenge you.

The Wii Fit Movement, a nation-wide tour with free product demonstrations, will be making its way across the country this summer. Click here  to find out where you can experience the Wii Fit for yourself.

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