Working out in the privacy of your own home is pretty enticing for a lot of reasons: You can wear what you want, do the workout how you want, and you don’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed about your technique or fitness.
But having someone coach you or watch your form is key to getting the most out of your workout, and a DVD or YouTube workout doesn’t offer the push that comes from a trainer or fitness instructor who is telling you to work harder or correctly do the exercise. That’s where video games come in: Workouts in the form of games automatically score your effort, and some can show you what you’re doing wrong when you try the moves.
The latest incarnation of the Xbox has partnered with some very famous trainers to create game versions of their workouts. Trainers like Tracy Anderson, Jillian Michaels, Shaun T and Tony Horton host a series of classes, and the Kinect camera captures your body’s motion as you complete them. The camera can measure your heart rate through changes in your skin, map your muscle usage to tell you what the exercise is working and your exertion.
Playstation 3 is not the most current version of Sony’s console, but it has a varied suite of fitness games that rely on a camera to monitor your exertion. Some games, like “The Fight: Lights Out,” count how many calories you are burning, where others, like “Get Fit With Mel B,” can give you a fitness plan, chart your progress, give you feedback and a nutrition program with recipes.
Wii Fit U, a fitness program on the latest incarnation of the Wii, uses a balance board and remotes to do dozens of virtual “activities” that get you moving. The Wii can track your fitness goals and progress through a “gym” that you set up, and it can provide you with a personal training program that gives you recommendations based on your goals. You can share your “gym” with the public or just friends and family to get support, and Wii offers a Fit Meter accessory that you can wear when you are away from the console to continue tracking your calorie burn.
The other problem with working out at home is your proximity to the couch — but if you’re already playing your video games, maybe you’ll stay on your feet!