I was in a life threatening Wii accident over Christmas. I blame it on the weather and the oil patch.
For more than a decade I have got my daily winter exercise by going for a walk down our quiet rural road. Our group mailbox is located a mile away making it a perfect destination for our little dog and me. Only in the nastiest of weather do I turn instead to our Wii Fitness game for a workout. Cosmo does not approve. I don’t blame her. No matter how glorious the graphics nothing compares with getting outside in the real thing. I love the sun on my face, the birds overhead and checking out animal tracks in the snow. Cosmo loves the sun on her fur, sniffing tracks and, well, peeing. With a country walk, each day is a new adventure. You never know what you might come across. And the fresh air is invigorating. Or at least that’s how it used to be.
Over the past few years the shale gas exploration has turned our quiet country road into a busy thoroughfare. Only a few years ago if I went for a walk and encountered more than two vehicles it was unusual. If we came across a semi it got a mention at supper. Now it’s just the opposite. If I manage the two mile walk without meeting more than two vehicles it’s unusual. And if we make it without encountering a semi it’s cause for conversation. When all those trucks – big and small – are going in opposite directions it can be a bit daunting. Country roads don’t have sidewalks. In the winter they barely have shoulders. There are times where it feels as if Cosmo and I are trying to go for a stroll down the middle of a freeway. And the diesel fueled air is far from fresh.
This year it’s not just the traffic, though that certainly is part of it. We’ve also had record shattering snowfalls. All of this has translated into short walks with Cosmo up and down the driveway and me reacquainting myself with our Wii Fit program.
Ah, Wii Fit. It’s a cheeky little program with a rectangular platform you can stand on (though you don’t stand on it for some of the activities such as running) offering exercises for balance, strength and aerobics. I am decidedly unbalanced prompting Wii to ask if I have trouble tying my shoes or tripping when I walk. Fortunately that’s only during the weigh in and daily body test where you find out your Wii Fit Age. The trainers are kinder. In fact, I think I might have a tiny crush on mine.
He smiles encouragingly and gently says, “Your core muscles are a little weaker than they should be. But I can help you with that.” And the way he says it, I believe. Even when I wobble about like a drunken penguin the worst I get is, “You put your foot down didn’t you?” But he says it so kindly I know he still has faith in me.
You might think having an accident while doing mock activities like running, bicycling or hula hooping on the spot in the middle of one’s living room would be difficult. I made it look easy. In fact I wasn’t even doing Wii Fit when I had the Wii Fit accident. Instead I was putting the final touches on the Christmas tree. I had just settled the angel on her perch and stepped back to admire my handiwork, at which point I backed into the Wii board I had left on the floor.
While Cosmo watched in amazement I came completely unbalanced, my arms wind milling frantically. For awhile it was a gamble whether I would do a face plant in the tree or fall backwards smashing into the TV. One second I was clawing at the ornaments, the next I was tilting violently in the opposite direction. At any moment I was going fall into a pile of glass and twigs, or smash my head open on the TV stand. To my great surprise (and relief) I did neither. Instead, I managed to do a sort of pirouette and regain my balance.
That never would have happened if it wasn’t for my newfound core muscles from faithfully doing balance games every day. Of course, it never would have happened if I didn’t have to resort to the Wii game for exercise in the first place. Lesson learned; it’s important to have good balance. It’s also important to put your toys away when you’re finished playing.
Shannon McKinnon is a weekly humour columnist from Northern BC. You can read past columns by visiting www.shannonmckinnon.com