It's the end of the first full week of 2021! We hope you've had a pleasant and productive week despite general evidence to suggest that 2021 may end up being Part II to 2020's Godfather (or should that be Scary Movie II to 2020's Scary Movie?).
While it arguably takes a brave person to make solid New Year resolutions when the global and local situation can turn on a dime and scupper your plans for Dry January to run a marathon every week, it's still important to remember that things won't always be like they are right now, and it's vital to think about our physical and mental health in these stressful times.
Switch has a growing list of games to help you exercise and keep fit, and we looked recently at Healthy Gaming Tips to help avoid common aches and pains related to our favourite interactive hobby, but today we thought we'd take a moment to explore how Nintendo Life staff and contributors like to keep active and healthy on a broader scale. As you can well imagine, sitting in front of our laptops, desktops, tablets and other technological detritus to bring you news, reviews, features, interviews, topical talking points, polls, lists and generally entertain you with the gamut of the gaming industry's offerings isn't totally conducive to keeping our body's ready for activities that don't involve having a controller in our hands.
So, let's take a look at the regimes and activities — game-related and otherwise — that Team Nintendo Life uses to stay in shape and remain the fine specimens of personhood we are.
Gonçalo Lopes - Reviewer
New Year, new me, right?
WRONG! Every single day is “new me”. Although I have been blessed with exceptional genetics from my family’s gene pool, ever since wrapping up college I do spend an unhealthy amount of time doing my “real job” sitting down in front of a computer. I counter that by simply walking every single day, from both home to work and wherever else I need to visit in my fair city.
I'm not a huge fan of gyms because of, you know, 'other people' so I built one at home, something that became surprisingly easy by simply owning a Nintendo Switch with a choice selection of titles. No, not Just Dance but that one will surely work for well coordinated folks with no neighbours. I meant the original Fitness Boxing, Ring Fit Adventure and the latest Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise. While Nintendo’s offering provided me with a three-hundred-day streak with the game's main quest mode just last year, I still use it every week to do some of my favourite exercises with the custom workout mode.
However, a daily thirty-minute date with one of the virtual PTs from Fitness Boxing 2 has become mandatory, a ritual I shall continue until my Summer vacation where I will replace all Switch exercise with proper swimming at the beach.
It is true that Animal Crossing: New Horizons kept our mental health up during last year, but Ring Fit Adventure turned out to be equally important when suddenly a lot of folks found themselves working from home with all the gyms shut down. In the end it all comes down to discipline and a healthy diet. Fortunately, I've got buckets of those.
Ollie Reynolds - Reviewer
2020 has done a number on my fitness, as I'm sure is the case with most people! I used to run weekly 5km parkruns with the local community, but now my exercise mostly consists of a few jogs here and there around the estate.
I occasionally pop in a workout DVD if I'm feeling particularly out of shape, but this is honestly few and far between. If I had any advice though, it would be this: drink water. Lots of it! The benefit of water on your fitness and overall health is truly remarkable, and it's made me feel more alert and positive during such weird, uncertain times.
Anthony Dickens - Managing Director
I'm one of those people that does actually like to use the end of one year and the beginning of another to reassess things, it's the perfect reset moment for me — even though I accept it could be done at any other time of the year.
I'm probably the most unfit I've been for a number of years, that's partly down to the pandemic as I've not been able to play football since late 2019, and minimal attendance at the physical NL office means I cycled far less in 2020. That compounded with a few little injuries meant my former running schedule had completely gone out of the window. Add some life situation changes (eg. having a small human) and my exercise has suffered.
The good news is that I've gotten to a place now where change can happen. As of 1st Jan I've started running again and upped the frequency to every other day. On the off days I'm seeing if I can factor in some gaming-related fitness. Like many, I've had Ring Fit Adventure since it was released but honestly haven't played past the first "world".
So I'm giving that another shot and will be trying out Fitness Boxing this weekend as I still have fond memories of Wii Sports Boxing and hopefully it'll provide a totally different workout to my running.
Even after a few days I can feel a massive mental health benefit. Doing some form of exercise really does dust off the cobwebs of both body and mind for me and I'm looking forward to seeing how long I can keep things going and get back to the shape I was in a couple of years ago.
Kate Gray - Staff Writer
I used to love going out to eat. The pandemic has made going out to eat quite hard. Actually, it's made going out at all quite hard. You'd think that would save me a ton of money and lose me a ton of weight, but no - I also got really, really into cooking. Like, "spend £50 on spices in one shopping trip" into cooking.
And, let's be real: the pandemic isn't doing great things for my mental health, either! I've been a long-time sufferer of anxiety and depression, and though I have them relatively under control, I wasn't exactly prepared for a year of staying inside and not seeing the sun.
So, finally, around the end of 2020, I realised that maybe it was time to get back into shape. I used to walk a lot, but now I live in Canada where it is too cold to breathe in the wintertime (I'm not kidding - the inside of your nose freezes and it is quite unpleasant). My partner has owned Ring Fit Adventure since its release, whereas I couldn't get my hands on it, so I've just nicked his copy. He's level 100. I'm level 8. But what he doesn't know is that I've been doing a sneaky extra ten minutes of Ring Fit a day, so soon I'll be level 200, and I will give him a wedgie. Take that, nerd!
Mitch Vogel - Reviewer
The pandemic has seriously screwed with my exercise regimen. Prior to, uh, *gestures broadly at everything* I was hitting up my local gym four days a week and following a weightlifting program that I was making some solid progress with. Then the pandemic hit and I became trapped inside along with the rest of the sane world, so I had to resort to doing various calisthenics workouts and utilizing various prison-style solutions to common exercises. My favorite of these was doing incline rows by shutting a bedsheet in a door and using it to do pull ups with my body hanging parallel to the ground.
Then my brother-in-law—who helps manage the apartment complex he lives in—found a water storage room where he could build a personal gym. Over the past few months, we’ve amassed a nice collection of dumbbells, weights, and even a bench to give a gym-like experience on a cheap budget. Since then, I’ve largely returned to my pre-pandemic grind. My current one rep max on bench is 315, my deadlift is 305, and my overhead press is 175, and I’m hopeful that I can start to push those numbers a little higher in the next few weeks. It’s just like building another character when Diablo III puts out a new season!
I focus my workouts around compound lifts—meaning those which hit multiple muscle groups—and start with three sets of five at 65%, 75%, and 85%, respectively, then I drop down and do five sets of ten at 50%. In between each lift, I do ten dragonflies, and go up to eighty or one hundred of those depending on the day. As the weeks go on, the percentages increase or decrease depending on what the program calls for, while the numbers ever so slowly go up over time. The key here is making small, but consistent gains week over week, supported by well-measured workouts and a lot of eating!
Gavin Lane - Features Editor
The last couple of years haven't been my finest when it comes to keeping in shape. The bike's in pieces on the balcony and following the pitter-patter of tiny feet in 2019, my already-limited exercise activities were reduced to lifting a small (but growing) person, carrying them and/or depositing them in another location, approximately 300 times a day. In fact, after feeling the effects of my otherwise sedentary existence for more than a year, I'd finally managed to carve out an hour and book a tennis court on a Tuesday evening in March 2020... which was obviously cancelled within a couple of days for the same reason everything else got canned last year.
So, having hobbled through last year with some light ailments, tiredness and general 2020 malaise, I'm probably not the best qualified to deliver keep-fit advice right now. Having said that, there's one important thing that's kept me more-or-less mobile and it's something no-one else has mentioned explicitly: stretching.
No, it's hardly a #No1TopFitTip, but a spell of sciatica a decade ago (brought on by lugging loads of heavy books around in a sub-par backpack) brought home just how important it is to stretch out morning and night, even if you're not going for a run or doing deadlifts. You'll find plenty of helpful articles online without me detailing them here, but the 'lying deep gluteal stretch' is a real winner prior to getting up or going to bed.
Darren Calvert - Operations Director
I find that the start of a new year is an excellent chance to form some new habits that will help manage everyday life stresses. On the Nlife team, I am known as something of an avid road cyclist, and while it’s true that I’ve been known to don lycra and bash out 100-mile rides, in 2020 with everything going on in the world I must admit my enthusiasm waned a bit and I found myself looking for different kinds of challenges that could fit into my more easily into my lockdown lifestyle. Many of my reasons for cycling were mostly social and with group rides and long cafe stops becoming problematic, I started running last year.
While it wasn’t an easy transition to make from cycling at the time, after a few weeks, I was able to run 5k, then 10k without needing to stop. I find a good run really clears my head of whatever stresses life brings, at least for a while. I’m in my 40s now and the older I get, I recognise how important it is not to neglect your own mental health and find things to recharge your batteries throughout the day. That could be anything like reading a good book, going for a walk and admiring nature or catching up with some friends over Zoom. It’s worth experimenting with what you find most beneficial to lift your spirits in these trying times.
We’re homeschooling two kids at the moment during the third UK lockdown and that can be quite trying at times. It’s easy to get cabin fever, so I encourage the kids to get outside once a day while the weather is good and get some fresh air. This isn’t only so we get some peace and quiet, they come back energised and more ready to learn. Schools in the UK are promoting Joe Wicks workouts before morning lessons, but my two much prefer a quick round on Just Dance or Ring Fit Adventure to get them limbered up for the day.
2021 looks set to be another challenging year so far, so while we all wait for the vaccine, it’s important to do what we can to stay sane. For me I find trying to make healthy choices with what I eat and finding a moment to do some moderate exercise every day keeps me sane. Well mostly sane, at least!
- Best Nintendo Switch Fitness And Exercise Games
- Healthy Gaming Tips To Help Avoid Common Aches And Pains
How are you managing to stay in shape at the moment? Feel free to share your tips, tricks and regimes for keeping active and fighting the pandemic paunch below.