Can Video Games Get You Fit?

The arrival of Kinect, Wii and Playstation Move hailed a new wave of motion controlled gaming and started a strong campaign from those within the gaming industry that video games were no longer things which tethered you to a sofa – but they now made you active!

As both America and Britain battle with the increasing levels of obesity, games consoles found themselves in the cross hairs as folk lamented the amount of time children (and adults) spent indoors playing games, as opposed to playing outside like the older generation so frequently remind us they did. Jumpers for goalposts and all that.

With a swell of dance and fitness games now in the market, and the introduction of apps such as Kinect Fit, there have never been so many chances to get in shape using nothing more than your living room floor space and your console.

With all that in mind, it seemed like a good time to do proper Lolocaust investigation and get to the heart of the matter – can video games really get you in shape?

As you may have guessed by now, I’m the one who has taken up the challenge.

Put plainly, I’ve packed on a few pounds since my hey day as a field hockey midfield dynamo. Despite shifting my sporting love to ice hockey for the past decade, changes to my working and home life meant I simply don’t run around as much (or similar) as I did as an energetic 17 year old.

With an expanding waist line and increasing sense of self consciousness, I volunteered myself for this Lolo-challenge and booted up UFC Personal Trainer for the Xbox Kinect.

With numerous fitness games in the market, my interest in the UFC combined with solid reviews across the board and the chance to shadow box the days frustrations away persuaded me this was the trainer for me.

And so on Tuesday, I began. It started with a pre-defined workout followed by a few rounds of the virtual ‘Hit the Mitts’ and ‘tyre flip’ games. After 40 minutes I was sweaty and a little out of breath. A positive start for a fitness game…

On Wednesday, the real work began as I embarked on a 30 day programme to ‘cut weight’ – one of six available preset programs which span either 30 or 60 days and can aid you to ‘cut weight’, ‘improve endurance’ or ‘build strength’.

With ‘routines’ 2 and 3 on Wednesday and Thursday, Friday’s rest day was incredibly welcome as I battled with aching muscles and sore joints from the opening flurry of exercise.

And so my initial foray in to fitness by gaming has been, largely, a success – in that it’s making my sweat and working muscles that haven’t had that much to do in some time.

The downside? Still having to re-arrange the living room to get the most out of Kinect….



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