I have next to no experience with exercise beyond running for cardio, which I started doing daily last year.
Now let me tell you, running can get really boring after doing it every day for a year, and really you can only achieve so much doing one thing. So when Nintendo released Ring Fit Adventure, the latest video game/exercise hybrid that made gains into a turn-based RPG, it sounded like exactly what I needed to do more for my body beyond running around and hoping I would be satisfied with my progress when I looked in the mirror.
However, as I’ve never done anything meaningful to make my body do more than the bare minimum required of it, Ring Fit Adventure has been kicking my ever-loving ass in just one week of use. Nothing could have prepared me for how much it would wreck me, even after just using it once. That’s approximately a 30-minute, high intensity workout of muscles that have comfortably slept since the early 1990s.
Here’s a list of everyday things I could no longer do after one session of Ring Fit Adventure.
Sit down without it being a trust fall
At the behest of a sentient ring, I did squats for probably the first time in my life with Ring Fit Adventure. As a result, the most prominent pain I’ve felt since has been in my thighs. It took three days after my single session for this pain to really work itself out of my body, but between Sunday and Wednesday I did have to sit down on a couch, a chair, or get into my car. Sitting like a person normally would requires you to bend at the knee, but that was pre-Ring Fit Adventure. In a post-Ring Fit Adventure world, the mere act of sitting became a trust exercise between me and the chair in question. Some were more reliable than others. I could count on my couch or driver’s seat to not move if I let myself just fall onto them, but I had to prop myself on my dining room chair just to make sure it wouldn’t move once I let gravity put my entire ass in the seat.
Pick my dog up off the ground
I have a yorkie-chihuahua named Lily who owns my entire heart and soul. She also likes to follow me around everywhere I go and sit with me at all times. This is usually fine, but she is also very small and can’t jump on most places she likes to sit, whether it’s my bed, couch, or the recliner she insists on crawling to the end of with no regard for her safety given its relative lack of stability. So not only do I have to do a trust fall to put myself on these, I have to bend down to pick her up. Each time I’ve done it I’ve had to let out an involuntary scream that could most accurately be described as resembling the first note of Lion King’s “Circle of Life.”
Hold my phone. Literally just hold it.
While the majority of my pain has been in my legs, I did have soreness in my arms that subsided a little bit quicker. But around an hour after I finished my first set of Ring Fit Adventure levels I was asked to go to dinner. Which was fine, I was starving and the pain had not yet set in. But what had set in was a weakness in my legs that made standing a whole ordeal. But I didn’t realize it was also in my arms until I was sitting down at the restaurant and trying to hold my phone. It was here I realized Twitter is hard to read when your arms tremble while holding up a phone that doesn’t even weigh one pound. It may have taken a bit to rear its ugly head, but in retrospect I should have expected it. One of the first things Ring Fit asked me to do that gave me trouble was holding its ring peripheral above my head and squeeze inward. This sounded so simple when the game asked me to do it, but once I started, every second I had to hold it in felt like ten minutes. This not only signaled how out of shape I am but also how holistic the routine the RPG was going to put me through was. It also told me that, despite whatever struggle came next, I should stick with it because I could definitely use the strengthening in my arms.
Play more Ring Fit Adventure
As a video game Ring Fit Adventure isn’t much to write home about. It’s got very simplistic RPG mechanics and a story that lives and dies by its exercise puns. This is fine since that’s all people without a ton of game knowledge need to get into it. But as a comprehensive exercise plan it’s kind of perfect for what I need to get in better shape. It’s cheaper than a gym membership and a personal trainer, it tells my extremely ignorant self what exercises to do and how to do them, it holds me accountable for every squat, squeeze, and stretch, and I can do it at home to avoid the social judgement and awkwardness of being in a real gym with ripped people who know what they’re doing.
But also, unless I want to tear my thigh muscles in half, I can’t get back to it until the soreness works itself out of my body. Even though Ring Fit Adventure has ruined my body for days, I really want to play it again. I want to be at the point where it can be a regular part of my weekly routine and not debilitate me for days on end. I don’t expect to get six-pack abs playing through this game, but that it’s already caused this much soreness means something good has gotta be happening under all that pain, right?