Why I Might Actually Start Exercising

The original Pong

The original Pong

I’ve never considered myself a “gamer.” And by gamer, you know I’m not talking about board games. Don’t worry, I don’t mean Dungeons & Dragons or World or Warcraft or anything either. I mean, just good old-fashioned video game fun.

But the truth is I AM a gamer. My family proudly had one of the very first game systems. It played Pong. That’s all it played. One little blip going back and forth on the screen. Still, we were mesmerized. Then we graduated to the Atari 2600, or in our household, the Sears Game Console. How I loved playing the game with the dragon that really looked like a duck. I never thought gaming could get better.

Hours were spent on this game

Along came the 80s and the lure of Pac-man and all things arcade. I loved Tempest, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Moon Patrol, Frogger. I dreamed of one day spending $3000 to have a big arcade game in my house. I never could have imagined that these games would eventually become novelties that we could download for free.

Moon Patrol: The graphics were awe-inspiring

Moon Patrol: The graphics were awe-inspiring

As a gamer, I feel it’s only right and necessary to keep evolving to the next level of gaming. I’ve experimented with Atari, Commodore, and Sega. But my video gaming love always comes back to Nintendo. We had a Nintendo Entertainment System (introduced in 1985). Then I kind of skipped a few years while I did things like go to college, graduate, get a job, and learn the fine art of computing. But I still came back to my love of gaming.

Years ago, when I had cash to spare, I bought myself a Nintendo DS. Then for the man who has everything, my husband, I finally got him the Nintendo Wii. I wanted that game system because I knew it had a lot of family friendly games. Even though we didn’t have kids at the time, I’ve never been into the blood and gore and other types of realities available on video games. I had no idea that it would be so much fun.

We don’t have an onslaught of games. We have Mario Kart (LOVE!), Wii Sports, and Wii Fit. If we have other games, I’m not aware of them because I don’t use them. I love all of these games because not only do they challenge my mind but they also make me sweat (for those of you questioning the accuracy of that statement, yes, the way I play Mario Kart does make me sweat).

I was recently approached about an opportunity to become a Brand Ambassador for Nintendo, specifically for their partnership and promotion with the American Heart Association (AHA). I was proud to apply for the opportunity and thrilled to have the chance to actually do it! One of the first events for this partnership was an afternoon of fun and fitness in our very own city of Raleigh.

Last Saturday, I invited what seemed like 87 of my closest friends to join me and 3 of my fellow bloggers downtown for a Nintendo-AHA sponsored event. For the lucky crowd that was able to make it (we were, after all, competing with the N.C. State Fair – a mecca for fried food lovers), we had a complete blast. And we did it all in the name of heart health.

Choosing how to help ourselves

Choosing how to help ourselves

Survey: How's your heart?

Survey: How's your heart?

We started the day with some “free play.” When was the last time you went to an event and were told to go play? I’m thinking 3rd grade or so? Nintendo had their Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit Plus set up at stations around the room. Thank God no one brought a video camera (I think) because we all looked pretty ridiculous waving our arms around in the air.

Yes, we looked goofy

Yes, we looked goofy

After all of our hard playing, we were told we could take a snack break. Gee, I’m really starting to miss elementary school But I have to tell you, if I had snack breaks at my house like this, I think my healthy eating would be much more on track.

Snack time never looked so good

Snack time never looked so good

A little bit more playing and we had worked up an appetite for lunch. And yes, it was a healthy lunch. I’ll admit it. I missed my carbs but managed to get by just fine with herbed chicken, steamed broccoli, and marinated red cabbage. We even had a roll which I smothered in olive oil. During lunch, we were fortunate enough to listen to a wonderful panel of speakers including a nutritionist, pediatric cardiologist, and one of the original “Mad Men” from the early days of advertising.

Lunch kickoff

Lunch kickoff

Our panel of speakers

Our panel of speakers

Hank Wasiak, not your typical motivational speaker, captured me with his matter-of-fact New Yorkedness and his message of asset-based thinking. It was really a way of looking at your life and turning the negatives into positives. I loved it when he held up a glass and asked us if we thought it was half full or half empty. (We all know where this is going, right?) His answer was BOTH. The glass can’t be half full without being half empty. Life is never perfect. It’s not going to be positive all the time. That’s reality. But look for new ways to change your perspective.

Hank Wasiak tells it like it is

Hank Wasiak tells it like it is

We returned to play time, squeezed in a few more games but not before writing a note to ourselves. We all wrote a letter to ourselves telling us how we need to make changes in our life. What we need to do and how we can hold ourselves accountable. Although I may be heart healthy, my waistline doesn’t reflect the way I truly want to feel. I want to make changes. I’m thrilled to have Nintendo be a part of that.

A little friendly competition

A little friendly competition

I’d love to hear if you have a Nintendo Wii and how your family uses it. What are your favorite games? Can you work up a sweat? I never thought I’d have sore muscles from sword fighting or bowling but do. I’m convinced that I can be the “gamer” that I am, spend time with friends and family having fun, and maybe, just maybe, get back into those pre-baby jeans.

***

DISCLOSURE: Nintendo provided me with a complete Wii gaming system including Sports Resort and the Wii Fit Plus kit as part of my role as Brand Ambassador. My recap of the event above was done simply out of my admiration for the program. I really had a great time and I really do love Wii!!

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  • http://twitter.com/themamateresa Teresa Thomas

    We ADORE our Wii! Wii Fit and Wii Sports have been fun, but are currently ignored in favor of a new Godzilla game and the magical Netflix streaming disc. Mario Kart has helped keep our family together and I’m pretty sure all the jumping and yelling that occurs during play keeps heart rates nice and high.
    Other family favorites: Raving Rabids, Super Paper Mario, Super Mario Brothers and Disney Wii Sing.
    Congrats on being a Nintendo Ambassador! I’m awed at your coolness. :-D

    • Anonymous

      Aww, gee, thanks. I’m just doing what I love to do. Play. I actually love the family friendly aspect of the Wii. The only problem we have is that we all seem to try to figure out how to do the active games while sitting down.

  • Jen

    We like bowling and just dance. Looked like a lot of fun.

    • Anonymous

      The bowling on the Sports Resort is better if you don’t have that yet. Been thinking about Just Dance. Or I wonder if it will be called “Just Idiot” for me.

  • http://www.mommyneedsavacation.com Rachel- Mommy Needs a Vacation

    We don’t own video game systems. I feel like one day I will cave and get one…but not yet!

    • Anonymous

      I’m sorry. I didn’t understand your statement. Come back when you have your Wii.

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE our Wii Fit Plus. Hooray for gaming!

    • Anonymous

      I’m hoping I can use it to trick myself into actually exercising ;)

  • Anonymous

    I have a Wii, which I got for Christmas last year after asking for it for 2. I’ve used it exactly once. Bad, I know. I’m not a gamer, but my husband is (he loves all the Blizzard games), but I’d rather be blogging.

  • http://mommythisandthat.com Melisa

    Want an arm workout? Do the canoeing on Wii Sports Resort. Seems easy at first but will give you a burn like you would not believe!

    I have always been a gamer and really wished I hadn’t missed this event!

  • Mommy2brady

    umm, nice action shot there! What a fun day. I did not know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised by all the fun and information we received! We love Nintendo and the Wii. Have been practicing a lot!

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