Fitness video games offer grown-up workouts, family fun

2012-12-30T00:00:00Z 2013-01-07T10:04:04Z Fitness video games offer grown-up workouts, family funCarrie Steinweig Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 30, 2012 12:00 am  • 

With many new game system consoles and video games making their way into homes in the region over the holidays, you may have the makings of a good workout sitting right in your entertainment cabinet. As those New Year’s resolutions of getting in shape are in full force this month, but the chilly temperatures have you wanting to hibernate, video games can provide a little cardio in the comfort of your own home. It’s also a way to get in some exercise with your kids and make the activity a family affair.

Whether your goal is increasing exercise, toning up, beginning a new workout routine, losing weight or simply becoming more active as a family, you’ll find a variety of games on the market that create a workout that will rival that of a live aerobics class or a session with a personal trainer. If you’re looking for an intense muscle-throbbing, skin-burning session or a light-hearted dance session to the latest tunes, your options are many.

Erica Navarro of Lansing plays Just Dance when she gets together with her niece, nephew and cousins. “I don’t play it often enough to call it my exercise regimen, but when I do play the game I get a great workout. My heart rate goes up and I actually start to sweat,” she said. “I love the fact that it is fun and it’s not just a game where you sit and move only your fingers. You use your whole body on this game.”

When Melissa Sullivan of Schererville won a Wii system at a local bank’s grand opening, she was surprised to find how much her family could use it for exercise. “We have family competitions – daddy vs. daughter or mom vs. son. We do bowling, golf, basketball on Wii Sports,” she said. “I am a fan of the Zumba game and have used The Biggest Loser games as my exercise program.”

Sullivan said it’s a good alternative in the winter months when it’s harder for kids to play outside as much and it helped her continue her exercise program since she’s not a fan of being out in the cold.

Zumba Fitness is a game that is so much fun that it doesn’t feel like a workout according to Sandy Kincaid of Lansing. “It works muscles I never knew I had. The first couple of times I did it, my whole body hurt. Who knew that could happen from a video game?” She said an added bonus to working her abs, buttocks and thighs is learning new dance moves and the great music that accompanies the game.

Here are a few games to check out to get moving in front of the television in the new year:

Wii Fit Plus is a follow up to the Wii Fit, allowing you to use the Wii Balance Board to weigh yourself and calculate your body mass index. Players can customize routines and use over 40 types of training activities ranging from beginner to those wanting an intense workout. The “Plus” version includes new features on yoga, balance games and strength training.

The XBOX 360 KINECT offers Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, lets you enter your weight, age and exercise level to play an appropriate workout. After following along with moves from your on-screen instructor, you receive a score on your performance.

Zumba Fitness for Wii, XBOX360 and PS3 lets you workout through nine different dance styles, ranging from salsa to hip-hop with more than 30 routines using a Zumba waist belt. A series of additional Zumba related games are available including Zumba Core, Zumba Fitness 2 and Zumba Fitness Rush.

EA Sports Active 2 for Wii, XBOX 360 or PS3 has three sensors that connect wirelessly to your console to follow a 9-week exercise program. Arm sensors monitor heart rate. Customize by answering lifestyle surveys and your personal trainer will create a workout and will leave you feeling it the next day.

Active NFL Training Camp for Wii has a total body tracking system using sensors on your arm and thigh. Strength training exercises are combines with an NFL workout of sprinting in place, throwing and kicking.

The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout/Challenge for Wii and XBOX 360 is based on the NBC reality show giving interactive workouts (more than 125 exercises) and forming nutrition goals. Focus of this game is weight loss.

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