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Health Meter: The Balance Board: Wii Fit-less Fitness

Steve Steinberg writes:

"If all the one-trick-pony game controllers were placed end to end, you'd have a length of crappy plastic junk that stretched from New York to Singapore. Bongos, maracas, fishing rods, you name it. As a big fan of the Wii Balance Board, I feared that it, too, might end up in the closets and basements of gamers once the thrill of virtual hula-hooping wore off. While a lot of the mainstream reviews of Wii Fit weren't all that glowing, as a trainer, I love it. I use it all the time with clients at my Boston-area fitness studio. Back at E3, I tracked down developers that were planning to use the Balance Board in some new and innovative ways. Happily, the main three games that I wrote about are now on the shelves and all have made creative use of the Board. Even cooler is that all three will whack your body, brain and the wires that connect the two together in slightly different ways.

The Balance Board is an amazing piece of technology. My latest writing project had me down at the PGA Academy in Ponte Vedra, Florida writing about golf biomechanics. The Academy has some seriously cool, high-end, high-tech stuff that it uses to assess just about everything that can be assessed about the golf swing. One of the toys is a platform that you step on that can sense the shifting pattern of your weight distribution from left to right and from front to back. Sound familiar? I'm not sure how much the Academy plunked down for its version of the Balance Board, but I'm guessing it was many, many times more than what gamers dropped for their Wii Fit -- and the PGA apparatus doesn't even include software that'll let you turn yoga into a competitive drinking game!"

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