Fitness Boxing 2 for Nintendo Switch

Need to get out a little frustration, but still like to move to the beat? Then you might like Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm and Exercise, a game for Nintendo Switch. I came to the game hopeful, because I’ve liked the boxing and kickboxing I’ve tried in the past, but skeptical that it would measure up to the other, very robust, fitness games I’ve already discovered on Nintendo Switch.

Fitness Boxing starts with a comprehensive tutorial walking you through the moves and the basic game interface and how to set your goals and customizations, and only after you’ve completed the tutorials can you unlock other portions of the game. I liked that this was a cumulative and careful learning process, but sometimes I like to drop in and figure things out as I go, so I thought it was a pity you couldn’t skip some of the early steps to just start experimenting. The more I played, however, the slow and steady unlocking of more features made the game addictive and rewarding. Not to mention the fact that jumping into new moves and routines without knowing what I was doing led to some serious sore muscles.

The game integrates the instrumentals of some well-known pop songs (Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, and Marshmello, among others) into its workouts, which I found really helpful when trying to stay on the beat (apparently boxing is all about rhythm?) though I did get distracted trying to sing along. And distraction is BAD in this game, because timing is everything. If you don’t move at just the right time you’ll miss your punch and lower your score, and along with it your “estimated fitness age” that’s calculated at the end of the workout. Me personally, I didn’t really appreciate some trainers’ vaguely judgmental commentary on your performance and estimated age, but maybe that’s just me. Either way it wound up working a number of muscles I forgot I had, and even virtual jabs and uppercuts are strangely cathartic. The specific punches are surprisingly technical and hard to get right, and the instructors (of which there are a pretty good variety to choose from and personalize) are animated in a vaguely unsatisfying style that doesn’t move totally naturally with the actual movements you’re doing – this is mostly concerning in the stretching portion, where doing it incorrectly has real consequences.

All around, it wasn’t the best Nintendo Switch fitness game I’ve tried (Zumba Burn It Up still holds that spot), not least because it’s oddly challenging in unexpected ways, but it’s a solid contender to have in your rotation of virtual workouts. If you like fitness video games, learning in cumulative chunks, boxing, and lively animation, you might enjoy Fitness Boxing 2.

RingFit Adventure for Nintendo Switch

When I bought myself a copy of Nintendo’s hot new game Ring Fit Adventure, I had no idea what a smart investment it would be. Since my purchase in January 2019, the promise of dynamic in-home exercise has become understandably appealing, and copies of the game available for purchase are nearly impossible to find. I’m proud to announce that I officially finished the game’s “adventure” portion this fall, and so I can now officially recommend the game – which I do, whole-heartedly.

The game’s main portion is structured like a pretty typical action-adventure RPG – your customized character finds themself in a strange world of villagers, animals and monsters, which is threatened by a power-mad bodybuilding dragon addicted to the dark side of exercising. It’s up to you and your trusty sidekick Ring to chase down the dragon and defeat him and his minions with the power of healthy, balanced exercise. The game is driven by your actions in the real world: a leg strap and ring accessory record your jogging, squatting, pushing and pulling and use them to move through environments and fight monsters. The more you play, the higher levels you achieve, which unlock new skills, clothing, abilities, and boosters that help you in battle. Everything is on the fitness theme – your boosters are smoothies with real-world ingredients, the skills are various fitness moves, and all the monsters have punny fitness names (yoga mat monsters are Matta Rays, kettlebells are Belldogs, water bottles are Protein Shakers, etc.)

I’ve had a great experience playing this game. The adventure portion of the game makes exercising fun, and it also has other modes that let me fit exercising into my schedule on my own terms. It has a “custom” mode where you can make your own list of your favorite exercises or jogging routes, it has mini-games that you can play outside the adventure for quick workouts, it has a rhythm game that lets you focus on moving to the music, and it even has a “multitask” mode so you can push or pull on the ring accessory while the system’s turned off, and earn points for the game.

Even better, the game makes a real effort to portray healthy, balanced exercise that is personalized to the individual user. Its included warmup and cooldown routines include easy stretches and lots of tips on living a healthier life, and it has an alarm function to help you stay accountable for playing regularly. It even includes lots of accessibility options, including a “silent mode” for simulating jogging (which is excellent if you share walls or floors with neighbors), various settings to adjust, and calibrating the accessories to your own body and strength.

If you’re looking to stay active during cold, quarantined winter months, AND you’d like to try before you buy, I recommend checking out Ring Fit for a family-friendly exercise option.

In Praise of Walking by Shane O’Mara

Have you heard anyone say “sitting is the new smoking”? More and more we’re being told to get up and move, to try standing desks, anything to avoid sitting for long periods of our day. You may like this advice, or you may find it annoying or confusing, but the truth is that our bodies are built to move, in an intricate and fascinating system that we take for granted every day. In Praise of Walking, by Irish author Shane O’Mara, is an accessible, wide-ranging, and engaging overview of this issue.

O’Mara starts with an extremely motivating chapter on why walking is good for us to incorporate into our everyday lives, and then dives into the science of walking: how it developed in our species, the mechanics of movement, and what’s going on in your brain while you walk. He even presents the evidence that walking can aid in creativity, problem-solving, and socializing.

It would be easy for a book like this to be a personal memoir of walking and its healing powers, but this book was very evidence-based. Every statement made was supported by historical records and/or scientific studies. O’Mara works hard throughout the book to be transparent about his sources and where his recommendations are coming from, which makes the book as a whole more convincing for me. This did lead to some fairly technical scientific explanations, but he also included regular summaries in everyday language, which was a big help.

I personally love to walk and feel refreshed and renewed by being in nature, so it’s possible I’m biased in this case, but I found O’Mara’s explanations interesting, his evidence compelling, and his recommendations very motivating. Especially for curious readers and lifelong learners, the basic science presented in this book is a great way to learn something new about a practical topic.

Video Games for Fitness and Fun!

Looking for something for your kids to do now that school is out?  The library has lots of new video games available for checkout.  You might even find one you would like to play yourself!  Here are just a few of our newest titles:

Mario Party 8

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

GoldenEye 007 Reloaded

Disney Universe

Madden NFL 11

Just Dance Summer Party

Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7

NBA 2K12

And thanks to a grant from Genesis to support health and wellness, the Eastern Avenue Branch also has several new video games that will help you get in shape!  Here are some of our newest games for the Wii, Xbox 360 Kinect, and PlayStation Move that will keep the whole family active:

Zumba Fitness and Zumba Fitness 2

 Wii Sports

Wii Fit Plus

Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout

ExerBeat

Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum

Nickelodeon Fit

My Fitness Coach

 Kinect Sports and Kinect Sports 2

The Biggest Loser Challenge

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved

The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout

Jillian Michaels Fitness Adventure

Get Fit with Mel B

….and more!

Getting in Shape

Feeling inspired by some of those amazing performances turned in by Olympic athletes? Think it might be time to dust off those running shoes, or learn a new sport (they make it look so easy!) Make sure your first stop (after checking with your doctor of course!) is the library, where we have lots of helpful books on how to get in shape.

Faster, Better, Stronger: 10 Scientific Secrets to a Healthier Body in 12 Weeks by Eric Heiden.

Strength for Life: the Fitness Plan for the Best of Your Life by Shawn Phillips

Start Strong, Finish Strong: Prescriptions for a Lifetime of Great Health by Kenneth Cooper

Walking for Fitness by Marnie Caron

Mayo Clinic Fitness for Everybody by Diane Dahm

Small Changes, Big Results: a 12 Week Action Plan for Eating Well, Staying Fit and Feeling Good by Ellie Krieger

The library also has a large collection of fitness videos including yoga, pilates, dance and cardio workouts to help inspire you. And they’re all free to check-out!