Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Making a Heart-Healthy Promise - Win a Wii Sports Resort Game!

Since becoming an adult, I feel like the simple enjoyment of video games has become soured. I used to love my Atari game system and later, as a babysitter, I love playing Super Mario Brothers on NES with my nephew. But nowadays, it's hard to love something that costs a lot of money and contributes to the rising rate of obesity among children. I don't think it's the fault of the video game companies, but rather, it's the fault of people using the video games. We've forgotten how to limit our time, pull ourselves away from the screen, and exercise something other than our thumbs. We've forgotten the enjoyment of spending a day outside in the warm sunshine.

Heart-Healthy Choices

Yet, when I was contacted by Nintendo and the American Heart Association to partner with them in an effort to educate adults about heart-healthy habits, I was intrigued. I admitted that I was not familiar with the Wii, as we didn't own one and I'd only seen them used but never tried them myself (except briefly at the store). Still, I was excited about the opportunity to learn more and also help promote video games that got people up from the couch and forced people to get active by simply playing the game. For people who can't afford a golf membership, a ski boat and wakeboard, and fencing equipment, Wii and the Wii Sports Resort game give people the opportunity to experience it in their own homes.

On Sunday, November 7, I met up with two other bloggers, Jennie and Shauna, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Irving. We'd each invited our friends to join us for a day of fun play on the Wii and to hear 3 wonderful speakers. We first assembled in the "Wii room" where many TV's were set up with Wii systems, so we could try out the Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, and Wii Sports Resort.
Wii Machines

I was happy to find that I wasn't the only one who was a newbie to the Wii. A laptop was also set up for us to take the Life's Simple 7 quiz. Life's Simple 7 is a set of seven factors that help individuals make better health choices. This quick quiz designed by the American Heart Association helps people understand where they are at on their journey to having excellent cardiovascular health.

I took the quiz and my number is..... (drumroll....) 6.3. That's not too great. I wish it were higher, but I already know where some of my shortcomings lie: I don't exercise enough, I don't eat enough fruits or vegetables, and I eat WAY too much sugar. I have a jumping off point, so I know that I can do better.

After I took the quiz I got a chance to play the Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort, which was really cool. I especially loved the obstacle course. All three games really gave me the chance to see that Wii actually *is* a fun way to move your body and get active. My shoulder actually hurt the next day from kicking my friend's butt in Swordplay.

Next we were treated to a delicious lunch. I mean, hello - it's the Four Seasons! I'd expect nothing less. Yummy spinach and asparagus salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and Chicken breast with new red potatoes.

 After our lunch we were treated to hearing some wonderful speakers, including Hank Wasiak, author of "Change the Way You See Everything." He had a lot to say about asset-based thinking and how our thinking can motivate us to make positive changes in our lives. He had so much to say that I can't fit it all into one post. I recommend getting his book and checking it out for yourself. The best thing I took away from it is that even one change can make a big difference. That's where I've stumbled in the past: I always try to revamp my lifestyle and throw out all my bad choices all at once. Up until now, I've always failed. But now I know that I need to start small and commit to a small change until it becomes a natural part of my life. Then it's no longer a change, it's my new reality. Hank reminded us to  "... forget perfection, and instead pursue progress". Word.

We were also so fortunate to have 3 amazing professionals talk to us about healthy choices and heart health: (pictured, L to R) Donna Israel – Dietitian and Fellow with the American Dietetic Association;  Sharon Hillgartner – RN from Texas Health Resources; and Dr. Jorge Cheirif – Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine, Texas Health Resources.

 They were all passionate about teaching people how to make healthy choices for a long, satisfying life. They stressed the importance of keeping sodium low and knowing your numbers: cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and BMI (body mass index). They also reiterated that exercise is essential; if exercise is a part of our everyday lives, then all the other healthy habits will naturally fall into place. Nintendo is a perfect partner for the American Heart Association in this regard. Typical exercise programs which may have failed for people in the past are now fun and personalized and easily accessible. Wii has such a variety of active games and fitness programs that it just never gets boring.

At the close of the day, we were given a wonderful bag full of goodies, including Hank Wasniak's book, "Change the Way You See Everything," a hoodie sweatshirt, and Wii Sports Resort (including a Wii Remote and Wii Motion Plus Sensor). I have decided to pass along my Wii Sports Resort game to one random commenter! You can earn up to 4 entries each (please leave a separate comment for each).
1. Take the American Heart Association's Simple 7 Quiz, then come back here and report your score!
2. Answer this question: Which one of the Life's Simple 7 are you most motivated to change? Stop Smoking, Maintain a Healthy Weight, Get Active, Eat Better, Control Cholesterol, Manage Blood Pressure, or Control Blood Sugar.
3. Tweet this about the giveaway: I'm hoping to get healthy with Wii Sports Resort and @American_Heart from @TexMama! #NintendoEnthused
4. Paste this as your status update for Facebook: No Matter where you are in life, it's never too late to make better health choices. I'm starting by taking the Life's Simple 7 quiz! http://mylifecheck.heart.org/
Entries will be accepted through 11:59pm CST Saturday November 20, 2010.

So while I still have a strong desire to grab every handheld video game out of the sweaty palms of every child and give them a Frisbee or a book, I do have to admit that not all video games are devoid of value. As a matter of fact, I'm counting on my new Wii and my Wii Fit (and hopefully, for Christmas, Wii Fit Plus!) to help me raise my Life's Simple 7 score from 6.3 up closer to a 10. I want to be a mom with energy and be free of pain and I want to live long enough to meet my great-grandchildren. I can't imagine life getting any better than that.

Texan Mama


The Little Blog about kids... said...

This is a great post! My 36 y/o husband had a heart attack last summer - very scary! Although it was due to poor genetics - we've changed a lot of things in our life - you've got to be active every day - even if it's not for weight loss! Our goal - lower cholesterol and lower sodium intake (also - switch to whole grain food only!)

Anonymous said...

I got a 7.9. My weight is too high and I don't eat enough fruit and vegetables!

One of my goals is to eat less and eat better. I'm already running, for cripes sake! :)

Jennifer said...

6.1 Ugh. I think right now the main thing I need to do is lose weight, but that is a really big issue in itself that has to be broken down into several different steps.

Rachael said...

I'm 6.7. Not great.

Rachael said...

Mostly I need to lose weight, which, I need to become more physically active to do. So the Wii Sports Resort would really help out with that!

Becca said...

This is an excellent post!! I was in cardiovascular sales for many years in DFW and it was fun to see you mention Dr. C!!

I just took my score - 9.8!! Woo hoo!!


Becca said...

I need to eat a little better (more fish- yuck!) and control my cholesterol!


Michelle Saunderson said...

I just got an 8.6, not too shabby. I do need to lose weight though. By the way, I love my Wii, I should play it more. I am a cruel parent and I make my kids exercise before they can play video or computer games. If they do not have practice that day they either have to run a mile or bike 2 miles to play (my kids are 11 & 14). I even have a treadmill and an exercise bike for rainy days :)

BlessedMomof2 said...

I got a 6.6. Ugh! I am not a fruit/veggie eater...gotta do better!

BlessedMomof2 said...

My "resolution" was to get more active. i have a Y membership...guess I should go, right? Does just thinking about exercising count??? :)

Terra H. said...

I'm most motivated to make a change to maintain a healthy weight. My motivation to have a healthier lifestyle is pretty high right now. Thanks.

Hank said...

Thanks for a great post and for being part of this very special event. Your energy and enthusiasm really made a difference. Thanks for the kind words about asset-based thinking and welcome to the positive ABT conspiracy.

Thanks again for helping spread the living heart healthy message.

Be well.

Hank Wasiak