I was stuck in a Catch-22 for several years with my feet. I had pushed them past their limits too many times and could no longer stand on them for long periods of time; which meant I sat more. The more I sat and became sedentary, the more weight I gained. The more weight I gained, the less time I could stay on my feet, the more I sat … and so on … and the more out of shape the rest of me became. Because of my feet, just walking for health was out of the question. It had gotten to the point that I had no stamina whatsoever and was getting too close to the 300-pound mark, forget the 200 mark, I hit it 30 years ago.

The most exercise I had gotten the last two years was bringing Mark Dunn the telephone. I could get up a flight of stairs, but it was a real chore. Walking two doors down to my mother’s house was also difficult. Arthritis in my ankles, knees and hips didn’t help much.

I wasn’t in good enough shape to even attempt a workout, but I devised a plan. My kids and husband thought I was a bit daft when I told them my “fitness” plan around the holidays.

I didn’t ask for a Wii (a new type of video game console) for Christmas, because I had already looked on the Web and they made a major jump in price after Thanksgiving to $500 or $700, which is nuts.

I actually saved enough for a Wii, $250, a little over two months ago and put my plan into action.

The game that came with the console was Wii Sports, which includes bowling, golf, tennis, baseball and boxing.

What is unique about the Wii is that you use the same type of movement (with movement being the operative word) that you would use actually playing the sport in real life.  Never good at sports, because of my lousy eye to hand co-ordination, I rarely managed to hit a baseball. I never even attempted tennis, knowing it would be futile, didn’t know anything about golf. I was always the kid that was picked last on teams and usually came in last or next to last whatever the sport I was playing at.

I did bowl in a league several years ago. Starting out with an average of 75; four years later, I ended with an average of 107, pretty pathetic. That didn’t matter though. Winning wasn’t my goal, the movement was.

Bill, my brother-in-law that lives with us, joined me and we started bowling with the Wii. Twenty minutes later we were spent. As our stamina increased we added to the number of games until we started bowling three games almost everyday, then we added three holes of golf. Before you knew it, we were bowling a couple of games and playing nine holes of golf. Usually, by then, my feet dictated that we stop. One day we added a game of tennis, which wore us out, so we left it alone for a while.

Stamina for both of us has seen a major increase. After a little over two months, we now bowl a game, shoot nine holes of golf, play a best of five tennis match and play a game of baseball, almost every night. Plus, most nights we take our Wii fitness test which randomly chooses three activities which tests your stamina, speed and strength. It then determines your Wii fitness age. Of course it varies, because the activities chosen may or may not be something you’ve mastered. When we started my Wii age was averaging in the 60s and high 50s, Bill was in the 70s to 80s. In the last week or so I have been averaging between 35-42 “fitness” years old and Bill hits the 60s some of the time.

I’ve also lost 10 pounds and can get into a pair of jeans a size down from what I’ve been wearing.

It was very interesting that three days after I bought the Wii, there was an item on one of the news shows about Wii game consoles being given to nursing homes to get the seniors moving.

Last month Wii Fitness debuted, which has yoga and other exercise programs. I haven’t checked that out because what we are doing is working just fine, but that just proves I wasn’t nuts when this concept came to me.

My nurse practitioner was impressed with my success. Her family has bought a game system since then. She said she was sore after playing the first couple of days … and she works out three or four times a week.

There has also been satisfaction that Bill and I are not last anymore. Upon challenging my kids to bowling and golf (Bill’s idea) they knew they were going to smoke us as usual, but to their surprise, we stomped ‘em. Bill has attained Pro status in bowling (within the Wii world anyway) and I have attained it in golf, with either hand!
Our “fitness program” has been successful, so far.

I see boxing in our near future as we continue to whittle our waist the Wii way!

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.