When it comes to exercising, I definitely have a love/hate relationship with strenuous movement. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty active. I love hiking, weight lifting, barre or yoga classes, and going on long walks without a destination in mind, but I am not a fan when it comes to hardcore exercise or going to the gym. I also live in an area where the temperatures dip below freezing a good chunk of the year — something I also hate. Pile on a healthy helping of having a toddler, a newborn, and basically the world in its current state, and let's just say exercise has been on the back burner. That's where Ring Fit Adventure comes into the picture.
I spent the majority of 2020 pregnant. While I was able to get out and do some hiking during the warmer months, after my son's birth in late September (via C-section), I was handling a newborn and in full-on recovery mode. I didn't necessarily want to jump into a full at-home exercise routine, and the weather wasn't exactly ideal for walks with my two young kids. The thought of using some boring exercise equipment was also completely out of the question. As an avid video game lover and a Nintendo fanatic, I decided to give Ring Fit Adventure a try.
Nintendo and fitness: Always trying new things
I bought Ring Fit Adventure a few months before I gave birth to see if it was easy to use for pregnant women. It worked pretty well, but the recovery period was the real test.
I'm no stranger to Nintendo's attempts at exercise games. I like being tricked into exercising, but with most previous attempts, there were really two types of fitness games: plain old exercise or gimmicky crap that does almost nothing. I've tried many fitness accessories, from the Power Pad for the NES to the Wii Fit Board. None of these games ever hit that mark. I'd either get bored and quit, or I wouldn't feel any different after putting in the time. While dance games and boxing games like Fitness Boxing 2 are a lot of fun, they can get a bit stale. Ring Fit Adventure does things a little differently.
With my first pregnancy in 2018, my post-pregnancy workouts included a lot of walking and a ton of Beat Saber until I felt well enough to do weights. (To be clear, this was after my doctor cleared me; you should never jump into a workout routine post-surgery without approval first.) My main goal was to regain strength and stamina following the pregnancy and surgery. I was able to, but it took me over nine months to get there, which is great by most standards.
Ring Fit Adventure made things easier this time around.
Ring Fit Adventure: Recovery
The best part about Ring Fit Adventure is that it offers actual exercise hidden behind an RPG mask — my favorite type of game! It tapped into my completionist craving to complete every level with the highest score and get every possible item. And I was able to scale according to how I felt.
That's the key — I improved.
The game takes you through a simple story where you have to battle a fitness-obsessed dragon and chase him from world to world. Of course, you fight him using physical fitness and the special RingCon controller. It sounds a bit lame, but I promise the workout is fun. You run through obstacle courses, fight enemies using targeted exercises like squats or crunches, and complete mini-game challenges.
Some of the exercises can be quite difficult. High-knees were a killer, of course, but I could get around those by lowering the difficulty to where I felt comfortable. Another great feature is that you choose the "attack" exercises and swap them out however you please. I was able to customize my workouts to fit how I was feeling. At first, it was mainly arm, yoga, and cardio-like moves. But as I improved, I found my moveset filled with ab and leg workouts. That's the key — I improved. Ring Fit Adventure actually helped me feel much better, even if it was a less intense workout than other programs.
I started relatively low when I found 20-30 minutes to spare and tried to aim for at least three times a week. As exercise became easier, I bumped up the difficulty and switched up my moveset. It gives you the option to jump into quick workkouts, but I never did that much because I just wanted to get back to playing the main mission. Be careful of your level, though. At one point, I underestimated the game by cranking up the level, and I had jelly legs for three days. But honestly, after three months of exercising, I feel much stronger and healthier than when I started. I'm not covered in muscles or anything, but it's helped me get on the right track.
Ring Fit Adventure: A work in progress
Recovery is not an overnight thing, and consistency is key. While I'm not quite where I want to be just yet, Ring Fit Adventure has made getting there much easier, especially when options are incredibly limited. It's easy, fun, and it won't take up a huge chunk of space in your living room. I have a toddler slide for that.
The best part about Ring Fit Adventure, however, is that you can customize it to fit your needs. I could focus on certain areas, like my abs, or do a well-rounded workout. The game can scale with you as you play, which not only makes it worthwhile for those who want a workout, but for those who want to improve.
I will definitely continue to play Ring Fit Adventure, but I'm sure there will be a time to add something else in the future. It is not exactly the only workout you should do if you aim to get ripped, but it's a great way to stay active in a world where that isn't so easy.
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