I Hate Running

The terrible & wonderful reasons why I run long distances
The terrible & wonderful reasons why I run long distances
I don’t run. There are many reasons why I don’t like running. For example… I hate sweating. I’m chubby. My boobs are too big and my legs are too short.

I forced myself to run in college, but that was a long time ago.

A couple of days ago, I read the latest Oatmeal comic, which is entitled, “The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances.” The author, a runner of multi-k races, marathons, ultras, and other foot-powered adventures, illustrates and explains why he runs. Besides the running part, I can totally relate to his reasons!

“I am The Blerch.”

So, whether you love running or hate it, take a look at the post. I think you’ll like it. It almost makes me want to start running.

Brilliant Balance Bikes

If you have a youngster who wants to learn to ride, this is a great first bike! No greasy chain, no pedals to confuse the matter. Just wheels, a seat, and a developing sense of balance.

I’ve seen some kids in my neighborhood using these cool balance bikes. They didn’t exist when I was learning how to ride a bicycle. I had a second-hand two-wheeler with wobbly training wheels. I wish I’d had one of these.

Your Choice – Boot Scoot Balance Bikes 2-Models 4-Colors

Now, kids learn to ride on bikes without pedals or chains! Why didn’t I think of this?! No greasy chain, no pedals to confuse the matter. Just wheels, a seat, and a developing sense of balance. If you have a youngster who wants to learn to ride, this is a great first bike!

Woot is featuring these bikes today, for almost 50% off. Go check it out!
balancebike-orange

GeoPalz Pedometer Makes Exercise More Fun

GeoPalz are pedometers designed for kids. Recently, I bought a pedometer for myself, and I was looking for one that would be suitable for my children. I was thrilled when I found out about GeoPalz!

The kid appeal goes beyond the fun designs (ladybugs, basketballs, pirates, oh my!), and extends to the online tracking of steps. My son has been very enthusiastic about entering the number of steps he’s taken each day, so he can see his progress in the online tracker. GeoPalz online not only tracks his steps, but it also shows his progress toward nearby cities. He also earns badges for his GeoPalz profile, when he achieves big milestones.

The thing he likes most about GeoPalz is the reward system. Every step counts as a point toward rewards. Once enough points are earned, he can redeem them for real rewards, such as frisbees, water bottles, sports equipment, and more. The combination of game elements, the cute gadget, and real-world activity and rewards, is perfect for this geek family.

Here’s a great video introduction on the GeoPalz system:

I received one GeoPalz activity tracker for free, to review for this post. My other kids want their own, so I think I’ll be buying a couple more. They’re so cute, I might get myself one, too! 🙂

Can Video Games Help Improve Health?

Video games have been taking heat for keeping kids on the couch, when they could be exercising. But there is evidence that certain types of video games can be helpful for physical therapy and other health improvements! What do you think?

Do you use video games for exercise, fitness, or therapy? Leave a comment!

How Video Games Improve Health
Source: Big Fish Games

Geek Mom Reviews: Kinect for Xbox 360

Kinect for Xbox 360
Kinect for Xbox 360

My family loves it when I get free geek stuff to test and review. You can imagine how excited we were when our new Xbox 360 and Kinect system arrived. It was like Christmas in November!

You may know that we’re already fans of the Wii, and that I spend a lot of time playing online Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 via the PlayStation network.

Although we don’t need another reason to sit on our butts and push buttons, we do enjoy video games! The Kinect system, however, facilitates physical activity during gaming. So you don’t just get to sit on the couch with a controller in your hands. In fact, there is no remote controller needed for the Kinect games we tested. We found the games engaging and entertaining, and frequently worked up a good sweat without even trying.

Our family tested several Kinect games, including Dance Central, Kinect Sports, and Kinectimals. My husband’s favorite seems to be soccer. The Kinect sensor is able to detect whether the player is kicking or heading the ball, and which direction the ball should go after it’s hit. I won’t pretend to understand how it all works, but it’s pretty amazing.

My five year old daughter loves her Kinectimals pet lion cub, which she named “Jump.” She can feed, groom, and play with Jump. When a new user stands in front of the sensor, the Kinect bar tilts up and down to find the person. This is a nice feature, because sometimes the Wii is frustrating when it doesn’t “see” her if the sensor bar is up too high.

Speaking of “too high,” one thing you have to be aware of when playing Kinect games is the space around your body. Not just the couch, coffee table, and carpet. Beware of overhead ceiling fans, lamps, etc. You might end up with a broken fixture during a particularly vigorous Dance Central move, or Kinect Sports volleyball serve.

There is definitely a “WOW” factor when you use the Kinect to play games and navigate the Xbox 360 system. Waving your hands in the air to control a computer device has a very cool, sci-fi movie feel. However, there are times when you’ll want to pick up the plastic controller, because the sensor does take a bit longer to register your commands than a quick click on the remote. If you’re expecting lightning-fast, precise control, you might be disappointed.

All in all, the Kinect for Xbox 360 is a fun way to play video games. If you’ve been using the Wii for exercise, you might want to find a place to try out the Kinect sports and workout games. You don’t have to hold a sweaty controller while you jog, or strap it to your leg to record your lunge repetitions. Once you get started, it’s easy to lose track of time, which is a much more enjoyable way to exercise than counting minutes on a treadmill.

We enjoy gaming with the Kinect/Xbox, and are looking forward to seeing what other games are developed for the system. If you’re considering a new gaming system for your family, and want games that will get everybody off the couch, the Kinect and Xbox are an excellent combination! For more information on Kinect and safe family gaming, check out GetGameSmart.com.

Disclosure: I received a free Kinect/Xbox kit.

Coming soon: Wii dumbbells

Wii dumbbells
I still love my Wii, and Wii Fit is my favorite kind of exercise. Yes, I’m that kind of exerciser. You can stop judging me now. LOL

Anyway, my very helpful hubby alerted me to this new Wii accessory, and I had to share it! It’s a clever weighted dumbbell, which attaches to the Wii-mote, so you can add resistance to your Wii workouts. Dubbed the “riiflex,” it’s not in stores yet, but is available for pre-order, in 2 and 5 pound sizes.

Looks like another interesting Wii-novation! But I’m not sure a Wii workout will be as much fun if the accessories actually start to look and feel like gym equipment. The thing I like best about Wii Fit is that it feels more like a game than real exercise. Seriously, exercise that feels like exercise just isn’t as enjoyable for me. Am I right? What do you think?

Prototype shown may not reflect final product design.

Three days with Wii Fit: GeekMom’s review

I have been looking forward to getting my feet on the WiiFit balance board for months, and my early pre-order paid off when it was delivered on Wednesday. (Oh, how I love seeing that UPS man strolling up the sidewalk with a big Amazon box in his arms!)

I’ve been using it for three days, and here are my impressions so far…

Set-up is easy

From box to playtime, it took about 5 minutes. The hardest part (and it’s not really hard) is finding the sync buttons on the board and the Wii console. Once they start talking to each other, it’s just like playing any other game. Watch the screen and follow the instructions.

Don’t take it personally

My family knew how excited I was to finally get the WiiFit, and they gathered around while I took the first turn. We started up the “game,” and I got on the board to create my WiiFit profile. I didn’t know that the WiiFit was going to calculate my BMI and call me a fatty in front of my audience! Okay, it didn’t actually say “fatty,” but be warned that it will collect data including your height, age, and weight. It will calculate your BMI, and show you where that lands you on a scale from underweight to obese.

I was particularly sad when the WiiFit version of my mii went *poof* and became chubby, to match my BMI. Oh well… It’s not personal; it’s mathematical.

Exercise games are really fun

I’m not the kind of girl who enjoys going to a class and getting sweaty with lots of other people. I prefer going for walks by myself, especially in the cool morning or evening air. However, it’s hard for me to make time for that, I don’t always feel safe walking alone, and I hate mosquitoes.

The WiiFit exercises really are like games, and after just one 20 minute session, I could feel it in my muscles. I love that I don’t have to go anywhere to get a little exercise, and it’s more fun than our old treadmill. And no mosquitoes!

Ski racing, ski jumping, stability trials, yoga, calisthenics, jogging, and step-aerobics are some of the games we’ve played so far. There’s also hula-hooping — which is so far my best event! I knew these hips were good for something! Watch out for swiveling badunkadunk!

Seeing results after three days

I’ve been having so much fun doing the exercises, that it’s been effortless to accumulate 20 minutes of activity each day! I’ve recovered from my initial feelings of resentment toward my WiiFit (for calling me fat), and now love the built-in weight and BMI tracking features. My muscles feel good, and my weight and BMI are trending downhill on my WiiFit chart. Yippee!

Unlockable games and features keep it fresh

As you accumulate minutes in your WiiFit Bank (looks like a digital piggy bank), you unlock new games and features. My kids and I get really excited when we get new games! We’ve already unlocked a more advanced Super Hula Hoop game. 🙂

Buy it if you can find it…

From what I’ve heard, the WiiFit is hard to find in stock anywhere, including online. If you find one, grab it!