Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Getting Fit

The last time I had a physical my doctor said that I should be exercising more.  I know this, I have never really been a very sporty girl and now especially, other than running after my two boys- I don't have time to do much.  It was especially daunting when she said I should be doing at least 45 minutes, 3-4 times a week.  What?  When?!  Finding extra time for anything, especially time for me is always difficult.  Also, if I do manage to get some time off, the last thing I want to do is exercise.  I knew I had to come with a better idea.
One afternoon, as I was watching my kids play their Wii and trying to figure out how to get THEM off the couch it came to me.  If I can't beat them, join them!  I decided that we would all start exercising with the video game.
So, we got the "Wii Fit Plus", the balance board and a couple of nunchuk controls.  We were on our way!  I have to admit, so far it's been quite a success.  I am moving more, the boys join me and get to choose the exercises that I do.  They sometimes have me just run the basic run or sometimes even have a snowball fight on the game.  It's actually fun.  It' not very high intensity which is good for me right now as I am just beginning but enough to get me sweating a little bit.  As I get used to these exercises I might try out some games with a little more intensity.  It will also be warmer weather outside, so hopefully I will continue exercising out in the real world.  It was just the thing to help me move more.  Another bonus is that the Wii fit doesn't cut into my "me time".  It's something I do with the boys and it gets all of us exercising.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Best Friend: Super Mario

My kids have recently discovered Super Mario Bros.  They didn't really understand that it was a game at first- just 2 characters that would be fun to look like for Halloween.  It didn't take them long before they soon discovered that these two fun Italian plumbers were also part of a video game.  I caved and got a Wii, partly because I was feeling nostalgic and was looking forward to reliving playing Mario myself but also thought that it would be harmless fun for my boys.  What I didn't expect was the obsession that would soon take over.  The first thing they want to do in the morning is play Mario, I more than once had to unplug the console from the TV to get them the stop.  My boys even sometimes refer to themselves as Mario and Luigi.  Mommy guilt has firmly set in.  What have I done?  How could I let it get this far?  Last weekend I wasn't feeling very well and I have to admit that I turned on the video game and I was able to stay in bed and relax a bit while they played... Mommy guilt.
The truth is that I don't think that video games are all bad.  I think they help kids learn that practice make perfect and to persevere until they get it.  The trouble is they are so attractive to kids that it can often take over and it's all that they want to do.  I came across the following article from Circle of Mom: 8 Limits Make Video Games Good Your Kids by Sharon Silver. Reading it was such a life-saver for me.  It helped me realize that I could allow them to play the games but still find a balance with the rest of their life.  I especially liked the 3 rules that the author outlined:

1. Frustration = taking a break, like it or not.
2. Not Sharing = timers are used to make sure things stay fair.
3. Negotiations or begging for more time = no play for 24 hours.
They are simple, easy for kids of all ages to understand and clear.  I can now allow my boys to play with a little less Mommy guilt knowing that there are limits.  I also try to vary the games up like the author suggested so that I can try to make sure that some play time is a little more educational or active at times.
Things are not perfect, as I am writing this my youngest is begging to play video games but at least I can be a little bit reassured that it's a bit more controlled.