At the start of 2021, during an innocent walk around London’s Richmond Park, I inexplicably injured my ankle. Now, you may ask, “what were you doing Vic?” I was literally walking. “But you must have tripped or fallen, right?” Nope, I was just walking. “You didn’t roll it?” No, I reiterate, I was walking. How I wish I had a cool story to tell like I had a gnarly landing snowboarding or that I injured it fighting a Martian. But no, unfortunately, my life isn’t as exciting as that – especially during a pandemic.
And the months following the injury have been equally, if not more boring, as I attend MRIs, visit physios and hobble about on crutches (though I recently upgraded to a moon boot). As we rocket towards 2022, I find myself still unable to walk as the anniversary of the injury creeps ever closer. But a dim light is emerging at the end of the tunnel. A light that should hopefully see me back on my feet (literally) in the next few months – all being well. And I have big plans for next year.
Before the injury, I was a regular gym-goer, squeezing in sessions (begrudgingly) as much as I could. I found it helped my mental health, never mind my physical health (even though I hated it). I haven’t been to the gym since late 2020. I confess, even then, I’d only gone twice since the pandemic started. I initially thought that the expected two-to-three-week pandemic would offer a chance to eat whatever I wanted and not exercise – it was only a few weeks, right? Nearly two years later, I’m in the worst shape of my life and regret not doing as many walks, runs, and jumps as I could, when I could.
But, like most people, I plan to change that in the new year (with the doctor’s say-so): and Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure is hopefully going to help me.
What’s Ring Fit Adventure?
For those who aren’t clued up on Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch, let me quickly fill you in. In a similar vein to Wii Fit, Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure is an exercising action-RPG game. In it, you’ll be squatting, crunching and downward-dogging your way to success, as you set out on a quest to defeat a hench, bodybuilding dragon called Dragaux. And that’s just the story mode, there are also lots of mini-games and individual workouts to focus on specific parts of your body.
The game comes with two bits of hardware, the Ring-Con (essentially a Pilates ring) that one Switch Joy-Con slots into and a leg strap that attaches to your thigh and has a slot for the second Joy-Con. The Joy-Cons track your in-game movements so the game can precisely tell how far you’re raising your knees when jogging, for example, or if your posture is correct during overhead presses.
Making exercise a game
I have an admission – since my review of Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure, I haven’t picked it up again. When the game saw a surge in popularity during the first wave of the pandemic, I didn’t have the space or the energy to exercise at home (I thought it would be a few weeks, remember?). Now, it’s more than a year later and while the motivation and space have improved, my body has let me down a bit. And, honestly, it’s knocked my confidence.
I have grand plans for 2022 when I’ll have a treatment for my ankle and can slowly begin exercising again. While the pandemic continues and my anxiety takes hold, the gym may not be an option, but Ring Fit Adventure certainly is. What better way to get me to (almost) enjoy exercising again than turning it into a game I can play at home?
Adjust as necessary
The nice thing about Ring Fit is that it allows you to make adjustments if you have a disability or injury. While the campaign sees you jogging along paths within a cartoon world in real-time, you can turn on a ‘knee assist’ setting that auto jogs for you – perfect for me in my early stages of recovery.
1. Beat Saber
Beat Saber isn’t marketed as a fitness game – but it sure should be. The VR rhythm game sees you ducking and dodging while swinging your arms to slice the blocks flying your way – all to some amazing tunes. It’s one of the best VR games on the market for a reason.
2. Zumba: Burn It Up
Another fitness game offering from Nintendo, Zumba: Burn It Up essentially offers you a private Zumba lesson in your home, with 30 high-energy classes to get your heart pumping and some great tunes for you to shake your hips to.
3. Fitness Boxing
If you don’t want to shell out for Ring Fit Adventure then Nintendo Fitness Boxing could be a good alternative. This Switch game offers you workouts overseen by a virtual trainer, where you use your Joy-Con motion controllers to perform punches and dodging maneuvers, with the difficulty increasing gradually over time.
When it comes to the exercises, too, adjustments can be made where necessary. You can replace the ‘Fit Skill’ actions in fights, where you do moves like squats to damage an enemy, with other actions that are more suited to your fitness goals or abilities. In my case, for instance, I would probably change a squat to an Arm Fit Skill like an overhead press or bow pull.
Ring Fit Adventure has four types of Fit Skills: Arm, Leg, Abdominal and Yoga. On top of that, there are static and dynamic stretches to warm up your body. If you struggle with the skills presented, you can also change to a button input instead, so you don’t have to do an exercise to attack the exercise-themed creatures that come at you. Take that aggressive medicine ball!
If you want to avoid an area of your body altogether, there’s an option for that too, with the settings allowing you to check options like ‘no knees’ or ‘no shoulders.’ This should prevent those types of Fit Skills from appearing in the first place.
While Ring Fit Adventure does let you make adjustments, I would still recommend talking to your doctor if you’re concerned about whether or not you can use Ring Fit, especially if you’re recovering from an injury.
New year, new goals
Every year, millions of us make New Year’s resolutions, and, let’s face it, more often than not, we don’t stick to them. We either forget about them, give up or life simply gets in the way, and that’s ok.
After two years of struggling through a pandemic, I think we’re all entitled to make some big plans for 2022, even if they don’t play out the way we want. Will my plan to be walking and Ring Fitting my way through next year pan out? I don’t know, but the idea of a goal – a light at the end of this dark tunnel – is getting me through one of the most difficult years of my life. So get ready Dragaux, a hurricane may (or may not) be coming!