Video games often get a bum rap in mainstream society. People pick on video games for supposedly promoting a sedentary, secluded lifestyle, suggesting that all gamers are overweight, pimple-faced loners with no friends. In fact the opposite is often the case, as the internet now connects gamers from all over the world. And while many game fans bond over mutual interests, programmers have figured out ways to join the love of video game play with a practical method for staying in shape. It started with the Nintendo Wii just a few years back and has grown significantly from there. Now there are dozens of games focused on physical fitness, and each one gets the player up off the couch and exercising vigorously without even knowing it. In the United States, where more and more children are facing obesity and diabetes, this is crucial. Here are just a couple quality video games that promote health and fitness.
Probably the most frequently used of the fitness titles is also the first one that really got out there, and that’s the Wii Fit. The game, when paired with a couple of different accessories gives the player forty fitness activities to explore, from strength training to cardio, to yoga and balancing exercises. Hula-hooping, boxing, foot races and baseball all have you up on your feet, and you’ll find you do get sweaty in a hurry. And best of all, the Wii Fit becomes a long-term fitness partner. It can actually track your BMI and weight, so you can see how you are doing over several weeks or months. You can set goals, and the game will remind you when you are due for a workout. It won’t necessarily get you exercising if you aren’t doing it already, but it will be a nice addition to your regimen.
Another great fitness title is Dance Dance Revolution. Versions are available for the Wii, the Xbox 360 and several generations of the PlayStation, which makes it easy for most gamers to get involved. It’s basically a dancing competition, which will have you busting a move to popular songs from across the decades. Your performance will be ranked, and it even keeps track of burned calories to acknowledge your efforts. This might be the most fun health and fitness title you’ll find, and the cardio workout will certainly be more intense than on the Wii Fit. Just remember to stretch after you are done, or you might regret it the next day.
If you’re looking for a game that offers a more structured workout, check out Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Ultimatum. The personal trainer who became famous for kicking obese contestants on “The Biggest Loser” into shape has created a series of workouts you can do at home with the Nintendo Wii. It’s a mix of interval and strength training with weight loss techniques put together. You can choose the workout, the intensity and the duration of the session, meaning you can craft the perfect routine for your skill set. It’s great for people looking for a jumpstart or those whose schedules are too busy to make it to the gym. But if you are a fitness junkie it might not be intense enough.
If you are coming from a sedentary lifestyle, make sure you see your doctor before starting an aggressive health and fitness regimen. You should have a body fat analysis, nutrition level testing and a general heart and lung review to make sure you aren’t in any danger when changing your routine significantly. If you are concerned about doing anything too severe right off the bat start a walking routine before advancing to fitness video games. But the two combined will surely have you on the path to better health.