Your Fitness Resolutions: This Tech Can Help

Staying in shape is really about two things. First you have to find an aerobic activity that you enjoy, or at least don't consider drudgery. And second you have to find a diet that is healthful, but not so boring and restrictive that you can't stay on it. This article is about cool technology that can help you discover, embark on, and stick with the exercise and diet regimens that are right for you. So here we go.

Wii Fit With Balance Board

Nintendo's $90 Wii Fit is a home workout program (disguised as a video game) that runs on the popular Wii gaming console. The game hit retailers across the country in May, and sold out in about 2 hours.

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Wii Fit lets you choose from 48 activities in four main categories: yoga poses, strength training, aerobic exercise, and balance games. To performthe games/exercises, you stand, sit, or lie on the special wireless Wii Balance Board thing, which resembles a double-wide bathroom scale, and comes bundled with the game. Four pressure sensors inside the board determine where your feet are, monitor your center of gravity, and check your weight. Using the board, the Wii Fit calculates your body mass index (BMI), records other data, and helps guide you through the process of hitting your goals over time.

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Visually, the Wii Fit games use cartoon figures similar to the ones that appear in other Nintendo Wii games. The game lets you create these characters roughly in your own image (hair color, facial features, and so on) if you like. Setting up the game for playing takes about 10 minutes the first time around. You can choose from activities such as hula hoop, ski slalom, ski jumps, tightrope walking, boxing, and dancing, so it's pretty easy to find something you like doing; that way, you'll soon forget that you're "working" out.

Shaun White Snowboarding (Wii)

One of the coolest and most engaging games for the Wii Balance Board is called Shaun White Snowboarding, from Ubisoft (White is an Olympic gold medalist snowboarder). The game drops you into a variety of different snowboarding environments with a number of different skill levels. As you're out carving it up on the virtual slopes, you can feel the weight and shape of the mountain--the rocks, ice spots, bumps--underneath your feet. Even though you might be having so much fun to realize it, the game forces you to exercise the hell out of your leg muscles and (to a lesser extent) your upper body muscles. You'll break a sweat. Between rides, you can pal around with your buddies in a virtual world. You can also spend as much time as you want fashioning the look of your avatar, and selecting accessories such as parkas and snowboards for it to wear. Check out the full review of Shaun White Snowboarding at GamePro.

Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009 (Wii)

We've heard good things about Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009, a game that uses the Wii console with the Balance Board. Michaels is a fitness expert featured on the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser. The game features 11 activities (with light, medium, and hard intensity levels) and offers durations ranging from 10 to 60 minutes. They're categorized in four major workout modes: Weight Loss, Strength Training, Intervals, and Hill Climb. You also get fitness, diet, and lifestyle tips from Michaels herself. In keeping with the TV show, multiple players can compete against each other, cycling through the various workout regimes to see who burns the most calories at the end of the game. Like Wii Fit, Fitness Ultimatum provides a wealth of exercise and progress data (distance, time, intensity levels, and more) throughout the workout.

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