CORONAVIRUS CHRONICLES: A HEALTHY WAY TO DEFEAT YOUR PANDEMIC BLUES

JOANNE PANG WRITES — During these chaotic times of COVID-19 self-quarantine, people will turn to video games to beat boredom. Avid fans of Nintendo rush to their latest device, Nintendo Switch, which is a device that can hold a large number of games providing hours of entertainment. It has sold out across the globe. And, as gyms are closed, Nintendo’s 2019 release of “Ring Fit Adventure” has become a big hit for gamers and non-gamers alike.

“Ring Fit Adventure” is not your typical fitness program. It’s a fusion of that plus classic role-playing games (games where you become a character and go around completing quests and fighting enemies). This particular fitness game involves defeating cute monsters, purchasing energy boosting drinks and carefully watching your “life count” during battles. Put it this way: Along with your best partner, Ring–who is also the device you are holding (a.k.a. the Ring-Con)–you run through various levels of beautiful landscapes and graphics, collecting coins and smoothie ingredients along the way. If you get bored of jogging, some levels let you move from point to point on roller carts, paddle boats and trampolines.

Yes, you run into monsters along the way, and here’s the best part: you use physical exercise to beat them. More to the point: Different skills serve different purposes and target different parts of your body. Squats are better for defeating leg monsters, planks are better for ab monsters. As you level up, you gain skills and improved scores. Although I despise planks and wide squats, I still push through them as I am bent on beating the monsters. The hardest part: Trying to convince my mother to stop relying on the easiest exercises and therefore failing to conquer the monsters.

The game itself is exceptionally well-programmed, as good as your personal trainer at the gym. It teaches you how to do each move correctly and bugs you, telling you that a certain move didn’t count because you didn’t lower your legs or raise your hands enough. At the end of each level, you can measure your heart rate with pretty good accuracy. You will then get a report describing your workout as light, medium or heavy, depending on your personal statistics. And here’s the best thing: levels of difficulty can be adjusted for age and frequency of exercise.

This game, then, can be personalized to each player. And so, in quarantine, when everyone is doing almost nothing at home, “Ring Fit Adventure” is a good and safe way to stay healthy and fit. What’s more, even parents won’t mind your healthy addiction.

Let it be said: I hold no shares in Nintendo nor am I sponsored by the company. The price for a new Nintendo Switch and Ring Fit Adventure adds up to 380USD- including personalized sessions for up to 8 users.  Compare that to a one-hour session with a personal trainer at a premium gym here in Hong Kong, which costs 80 USD per session!

So, pretty good value, huh? Excuse me, back to my (ugh) squats…

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