Recent research indicates that playing video games incessantly may be good for your health – increasing hand-eye coordination, night vision and even boosting creativity. Turns out, it can also be good for your fitness! The three most popular options are the Wii Fit Plus, the Playstation Move, and Xbox 360 Kinect. They use a motion sensor so that when you move, you affect what happens onscreen.
In terms of calories burned, playing active active video games is comparable to mild to moderate physical activity like walking or casual bike riding, according to a review in the journal Pediatric Exercise Science. This means that while it does not take the place of good old-fashioned working out, it is a great supplement to your healthy lifestyle routine.
After doing research, here are Health Fitness Revolution‘s picks for the healthiest video games for you and your kids to enjoy:
Nike + Kinect Training- Xbox 360: Consumer Reports ranked this video game highest of the five games reviewed for its intense, challenging, and well-rounded customized training program that includes a visual trainer in a realistic gym, which you can sync to your Nike+ account (that you can use to track your runs, and gym workouts!). The complaint that most people have, however, is not enough upper body workout.
EA Sports Active 2- Xbox 360, PS3, Wii: This is the closest you can get to a real workout! Equipped with three sensors that connect wirelessly to your console of choice, expect to undergo an exhausting 9-week exercise program. There are numerous exercises in numerous categories – from cardio to upper body. You can create custom workouts out of these exercises to suit your needs. The arm sensor also serves as a heart rate monitor, which tracks how well your hate rate recovers following exercises.
Dance Central- Xbox 360: The goal is to mimic the on-screen character’s dance moves for high scores while jumping and gyrating to songs from top artists and hot hits. You can master the moves individually and then launch into a dance battle to string them together to the music. The game tracks your calories during your routines and has settings for different intensities. Dancing is a fun way to partake in some cardio and let loose, as we wrote about in our Making Cardio Fun article.
UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System- Wii: Learn the basic MMA moves from your favorite fighters without all the risks we mentioned in an article here. Users main complain is that this is a lower-intensity workout than they had hoped for.
Wii Fit Plus- Wii: Many believe this is the best fitness game for the Wii. It uses a scale-like controller, named the Wii Balance Board, to weigh you and calculate your BMI. Players can customize their routines, allowing them to focus on working out specific parts of their bodies. Wii Fit includes more than 40 types of training activities designed to appeal to anyone from casual gamers to hardcore fitness buffs. The “Plus” version has several new features, including new strength-training exercises, yoga activities and more balance mini-game.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved- Xbox 360: This Kinect game will leave you out of breathe! The game talks and walks you through precise movements to improve your cardio and work out your muscles and adjusts the workouts based on your age and fitness level. Soon, you’ll be following along with the Tai chi and yoga moves of an on-screen instructor, who leads you through the movements and at the end of each routine gives you a score for your performance based on how well you stay in rhythm and mimic her deep knee bends.
Zumba Fitness- PS3, Wii, and Xbox: Zumba Fitness is a dance workout game featuring nine different dance styles, including salsa, hip-hop, and mambo. For a solid cardio workout ranging between ranging from 20 minutes to an hour. User did, however complain about lack of warm-up, cool-down, and not enough instructions for beginners.