Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Having been through major surgery before, I knew how hard recovery would be after my big abdominal procedure in December. It's amazing how quickly the muscles atrophy during a week or two in a hospital bed. And the body turns to burning muscle when your digestive system is out of commission for a while.
So I prepared this time by getting Wii Fit. It's a step board with sensors and a game disc that leads you on a variety of exercises. There's yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance games. My favorites have been hula hoop, step dance aerobics, and ski slalom.
I've never been a regular exerciser, partly because I get bored with the purposeless repetition. Wii Fit helped motivate me by teaching me new exercises, rewarding me with unlocked features, and letting me track my weight and fitness over time.
There's also a social aspect. Before my surgery I tried out the games with my family. We each made our own avatar and competed at the games, setting records for time and quality. Then after surgery when I exercised alone the game put my family and friends in the scene to help motivate me. (That's a few of them with me in the picture above.)
I do think the game helped me recover faster, especially since it was the middle of winter and hard to get outside for long walks. The exercise was plenty to raise my heart rate and strain my muscles. It might also be effective for weight loss, though that was the opposite of my goal post-surgery.
Unfortunately I haven't stuck with Wii Fit like I probably should. Once I was well enough to get out of the house I preferred to go to work or do household chores rather than spend my limited energy on exercise. But now my energy has improved so that I'm trying to keep up with both regular activities and exercise.