Thursday, December 9, 2010

Healthy Hook-Up: Nintendo & The American Heart Association

One of the first times I realized that the Nintendo Wii was more than just a gaming system was when my oldest daughter's middle school started assigning P.E. homework. Intended to prepare them for the standardized testing for physical education that the district will implement soon, they're required to do a certain amount of cardio, strength training and stretching every week. She got permission from her teacher to use the Wii Fit Plus' yoga and step programs to fulfill part of those requirements and soon we forgot a time when all we all we used the Wii for was to fly Kirby around and blow things up.

So it didn't surprise me when Nintendo announced a partnership with the American Heart Association in order to get people to healthy-up their lifestyles through active play. Nintendo introduced the Wii as a way of getting gamers off their couches, and together with the AHA they're furthering their commitment to helping people find ways to fit physical activity into their busy lifestyles. Whether you're a overworked mom like me or a middle-schooler doing her homework.

I was lucky enough to be asked by Nintendo to co-host a party at the W Hotel in Hollywood to get the word out about their new alliance with the AHA. If it sounds like a great day, it was. Here, let me show you:

The event started off with a spread of healthy food - granola, fresh fruit, organic teas. Also, the key ingredient - unlimited coffee. I can't help but think that it was provided for the 'health' of others, since without my coffee I could pose a danger to those around me.

Then we had some time to play. Here are two of my friends in action on the Wii Fit Plus. I think I may have been socializing a little too much to get any Balance Board action in myself, but I was a good cheerleader. Also it's hard to exercise when you're holding a mug of coffee. Did I mention I like coffee?

Then, because Nintendo's new partnership aims to motivate people to “Get Informed,” “Get Empowered” and “Get Active," they had a program planned that did just that. First up was a presentation by author and former ad man, Hank Wasiak. I don't want to call him a motivational speaker because for me that has a slightly negative connotation - it brings to mind a sweaty, sputtering slightly hysterical person barking orders to love yourself, or conquer your enemies, or to get in touch with your inner care bear. Who needs that?

Hank was more of an inspirational speaker, and his theory of asset-based thinking – or simply seeing the glass half-full – was more encouraging than preachy. He said something that my husband and I repeat often, "Look at it as your best problem ever," meaning to find the lesson in your obstacles. Even if we sometimes use it in an ironic or sarcastic way, we still think it's a valuable way of thinking.

(Hank wrote a book based on the concept of asset-based thinking called 'Change The Way You See Everything' and everyone got to take a copy home.)

Next we had a presentation by the American Heart Association, and they gave us some valuable heart-healthy tips, things like shopping in the outer aisles of the supermarket where all the fresh and non-processed food is, and the symptoms to look for that might indicate a heart attack or stroke. Also, they scared the daylights out of me with this little tidbit: If you eat one donut a day for a year, you'll gain 15 pounds. Man, am I glad I didn't put that bear claw in my purse before I left the house.

Finally, because the Nintendo people are a kind people, they ended the day with some dessert and some awesome gifts bags. In addition to Hank's book, my friends and I all took home hoodies and a copy of Wii Sports Resort. Even their swag is healthy! I left there feeling rejuvenated and inspired, and I know my friends did too. And I definitely started to see my coffee cup as being half-full.

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Hank said...

It was great to meet you at the Nintendo/AHA event. Helping people get heart healthy with tools, resources and an asset-based thinking mindset. Enjoyed reading your post very much and thanks very much for the kind words about my talk. Glad you liked it and hope you are enjoying the book and welcome to the ABT positive conspiracy.

Keep up the great work.

Be well.

Hank Wasiak

Hank Wasiak

SoCalLibrarian said...

Thanks for inviting me, I won't say which photo is me but I'll give a hint... I look forward to the wii improving my rear view.
I had the most fun with the skateboarding and felt most inept at the martial arts. It was a fun event and the W Hotel was a really nice place to have it.
Looking forward to challenging my kids to some extreme sports...on the wii.

Donna said...

The event was fun - and eye opening, especially for my husband, who just turned 49 and is starting to realize that he's um, you know -- middle aged, and needs to take care of himself. Nintendo and American Heart Association did a wonderful job planning the event and with the speakers they booked (my only regret is that the cardiologist couldn't make it! I heard from those who attended other Nintendo/AHA programs that we really missed out on that).

We really enjoy playing Wii Sports Resort (although I prefer to play alone because I am such a sore loser).

Amy Anderson said...

Thank you so much for including me in this event. I really enjoyed it on many different levels - as a break in the day, fun with friends, as a great source of health and attitude information, as a source of inspiration and even a great meal!

Hank - I especially enjoyed your talk and my boyfriend and I both love the book! Keep up the great work and thanks for spreading a positive message in such a crazy world.

DesireeLevine said...

First, just want to thank you for inviting us to this great event! The Nintendo Team are the kindest, most generous, hospitable, organization we have ever had the privileged to be connected to. Loved the book "SEE"! Thank you Nintendo for promoting good health, good vibes, and fun!!!!

Desiree & Paul Levine
Laurel Canyon News, Studio City, CA

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