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One of my favourite activities on the Wii Fit is the step aerobics. I do own a proper aerobics step but I found that since getting the Wii I rarely ever use it and prefer to use the Wii balance board. One problem though, is that the Wii Fit balance board is only a couple of inches high, so not a huge amount of effort is needed to step up onto it, meaning I don't feel that I am getting as thorough a workout as I should. I always thought it would be beneficial to the step workout if the balance board could be raised up, but had no idea there was any way of doing it. It was only when browsing Amazon's recommendations that I saw the Thrustmaster fitness pack and it seemed like the answer I had been looking for.
The pack comes boxed and you get a lime green yoga mat, a pedometer, and the thing I was really interested in, which is a plastic device Thrustmaster call a stepper, which sits under the Wii balance board to add height to it.
I'll go through each item individually and I'll start with the mat. I previously wrote about my York fitness mat, which is fine, but has a tendency to slip on my laminate flooring. I didn't really expect to use this mat much, as my feeling at the time of purchase had been 'a mat is a mat' but since purchasing this set my York mat has barely been out of the cupboard.
This green mat is made of a lightweight foam type material, and rolls up for easy storage. The mat itself has a slightly dimpled effect to it, which helps it grip even my slippery laminate. In fact, I have never had it slip or move an inch, even when using it for yoga moves, which is why it has pretty much replaced my York mat. I also find the soft foam very comfortable underfoot. I'm not sure of the exact dimensions of the mat (and my tape measure's gone walkabout), but I'm five foot five and I can lie down comfortably on it. The only problem I have with the mat is that sometime when you unroll it, it can start to roll back on itself, so I sometimes have to put something on one corner to keep it down, which is a slight inconvenience.
So that's the mat, I'll now move onto the pedometer. Otherwise known as a step counter, this is a simple device which is clipped onto your belt and counts the number of steps you have taken. I have used pedometers in the past, but never really stuck with them for long periods. This one is white in colour and very basic looking. There is a small digital screen on the front along with three black buttons marked 'set', 'up' and 'mode.' Setting up the pedometer was very easy but there is an instruction booklet included in case you need it. There are modes on here which show how many calories have been burned and how many km have been walked as well as the number of steps done and toggling between these is simple.
The main problem I encountered with the device was not using it's digital features, it was simply attaching it to my belt! The clip on the back does not have a huge amount of flexibility in it, and so clipping it onto my waistband was a lot more difficult than it should have been. The first time I used this I was wearing jeans and it was a struggle clipping this on. By the time I managed it the pedometer had been jigged about so much that it had counted up nearly 20 steps even though I hadn't moved, which of course meant I would have been left with an inaccurate reading at the end of the day. When I'm at home I tend to exercise in tracksuit bottoms, and I found that the waistband of my tracksuit bottoms is too thick for the pedometer to clip on at all, so unfortunately this device does not get a lot of use from me!
Finally I'll tell you about the 'stepper' the real reason I bought this pack in the first place. Well the stepper is a piece of plastic, which will add around 3.5 inches of height to your balance board. I think it would be advantageous if there was a way of changing the height of the stepper to make it shorter or taller depending on your ability, but unfortunately the height cannot be adjusted. On a more positive note, I didn't realise at the time of purchase, but the stepper does fold up slightly, which is great for me being in a small flat as I can save a bit of space.
I had assumed there would be some way of physically attaching it to the balance board, but you simply unfold it and place the balance board on top. Each corner of the stepper has a round cup, which hold the feet of the balance board. I do find you have to be careful to make sure all four feet are securely in the cups of the stepper, as it can slip if one or more feet isn't secure. This was something I discovered when I stood on the board and it lurched forward so now I give the board a bit of a nudge with my foot before stepping on, just to make sure it's steady.
As long as all four feet of the balance board are securely in the stepper, I find that it feels steady and will not move during a workout. The added height is definitely advantageous to my workouts and I really feel the increased intensity when doing any step aerobics exercises on the balance board.
This pack can currently be purchased for £14.99 from Amazon, which I think is a fair price.
Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who regularly does the step aerobics programmes either on the Wii fit or other Wii games. The pedometer has been near enough useless, however the mat is a decent enough quality and the stepper is brilliant for intensifying a workout, so I would recommend this pack.