Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fitness with something Virtual

Its amazing to me to see that we have come into an age where technology is like something from your favorite scifi movie.  Where a wave of the hand can manipulate data and help you do great things. In this case.... great things to improve your own self.

I am amazed by my Xbox 360 with Kinect.  Even though these products are from Microsoft, I am finding a growing love for this newfound creation of the Kinect where you attach the sensor on your television and are able to play a game without holding the game controller. I love my Wii (by Nintendo) and all the cool games that go with it, but when I would do my fitness games, the controller would slip from my leg with the fitness bands.  I hate having to readjust in mid action during a workout.

I first became curious of the 360's Kinect when a good friend on Facebook was talking about how she could not make it up her steps from the living room after a Kinect workout. I like hearing about game consoles making people get up and do something. This means people have to relinquish the couch and move!    I thought this was the case with the Wii but as more and more people figured out the controls we realized you could sit and still play tennis or do activities on the Wii from two rooms over. I know this is still not a bad thing since it was the Wii that is being used at a local gym here for neurologically impairing muscular disorders, primarily MS patients. Those who cannot stand are having fun being able to play Wii games side by side with kids from the local softball team. This is not a problem to me.  My problem lies with those who can stand and chose to sit.

In comes the difference between the 360 Kinect and the Wii  from what I am seeing so far. With the Kinect you have to stand up in front of the area it directs you. It scans your body and keeps track of all your movements, something you can visibly see on the screen (in some games your avatar will be semi transparent).  I find that this freedom to move about the space is great because there is no controllers to throw through a screen, no straps to fall when you sweat (yes will sweat), and less to worry about breaking unless you decided to have your entertainment in a room full of breakable china.   You will jump, you will run in place and you are training your whole body to play, not just training your thumbs and index fingers. 

One Game I love so far is called "Your Shape: Fitness Evolved". I get to learn Tai Chi and kickboxing!!   You see yourself on screen doing the moves as you work alongslide your on screen trainer. As your trainer moves, you move as in sync as you can make it. I am finding this very helpful since I was trying to learn Tai Chi by video tapes and a stand up mirror. Here everything is on screen in very straightforward terms. I dont feel anything is out of my league. As I complete the activities with my trainer, I unlock new and harder skills to master.

This is still my first week in playing. Lets see how the newness wears and hopefully how my form will look in the next few weeks. The game that came with the Kinect called "Kinect Adventures"  had me embarrassed. As I was learning how to make my avatar jump and control a raft, I was oblivious to the fact the game was taking my picture periodically. At the end of the level, it had some flattering shots of myself crouching, jumping, and looking alittle pudgy.  Hopefully my virtual training on the Fitness Evolved will help me look better for the camera.

Overall I am very happy with the Xbox 360's Kinect. Once you get used to not holding something to manipulate game menus, the system and the Kinect games are easy to play.  Key things to remember is your space and your pace.  Set up an area in front of your tv to move freely (about 10 feet long by 8 feet wide) and please only do what you are capable of. Don't overplay those first few days.... trust me on this WILL feel it the next day :')

1 comment:

  1. Yes, you WILL feel it. I also have Fitness Evolved, and I'm using the personal trainer and the kickboxing. Well, I got a little overzelous this weekend - had way too much fun, and now I can barely walk. =(
    Wish it had a warm up and cool down section.