Games - a Fun Way to Stay Fit
One thing we are seeing more of these days is the gamification of fitness. From brand new competitive cycling classes, such as The Pursuit by Equinox to running apps like Fleety or RunKeeper, gamifying your workouts adds a whole new level of motivation that is just the extra push many are looking for. Couple this with the fact that tech is becoming more seamlessly integrated with hitting the gym, and it is natural that we have many interactive entertainment companies scrambling to enter this market.
Minute Hacks: The Gamification of Fitness
Games can make fitness fun by providing a story to immerse ourselves in and the motivation, recognition and rewards to keep us going. Below are some fitness video games and mobile app games that you can use to amp up your fitness routine and have some fun at the same time.
Popular Fitness Video Games
Wii Fit Plus (Wii) – “Wii Fit Plus” is a follow-up to the top-selling Nintendo workout game and by far the best fitness game for the Wii. Like its predecessor, the game uses a scale-like controller, dubbed the Wii Balance Board, to weigh you and calculate your body mass index. 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-games.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360) - This is one title that might literally leave you breathless, but for all the right reasons. “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” talks and walks you through precise movements to improve your cardio and work out your muscles. Using the Kinect, the Xbox’s answer to Nintendo’s Wii, the game measures your body size and structure. You then use a hand-motion menu to enter your age, weight and exercise habits so the game won’t overexert you. Within minutes 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.
EA Sports Active 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) - EA Sports Active 2 is not your typical video game exercise routine. 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 - says EA - tracks how well your hate rate recovers following exercises.
Dance Central (Xbox 360) - With “Dance Central,” players mimic the on-screen character’s dance moves for high scores while jumping and gyrating to songs from top artists like Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue. You can master the moves individually and then launch into a dance battle to string them together to the music. A circle beneath the on-screen feet glows green when you hit the moves correctly and glows red when you muff them. The game tracks your calories during your routines and has settings for different intensities.
Mobile Fitness Game App Sampler
Runtastic Pro - It also supports activities, such as, biking and cardio workouts, but this app is designed for running. It tracks your critical metrics in your workout, including duration, distance, elevation change, and calories burned. Moreover, it helps you create routes, a useful tool if you segment your runs in light, medium, and difficult routines.
Noom Weight Loss Coach - It’s got a comprehensive content on weight loss suggestions, such as: eating healthy foods; a robust database featuring popular restaurants with healthy menu; and meal suggestions that keep your weight down. The app integrates a pedometer to count your steps daily, and a log that tracks your meals versus workout, which is helpful to identify in which area you’re falling short. Think of it as a motivation coach in your pocket to help you lose weight.
Zombies Run! - If you need motivation to run, this app gamifies the routine with a zombie apocalypse scenario. You hear the zombies in your headphones and you have to run to keep a safe distance. Your running also collects essentials like medicines and food that you can use to supply bases and characters in the screen game. The more you run the more essentials you collect and the safer you keep a distance from those vile creatures. The app sends out the zombies at random intervals, helping you keep an intense interval running regimen.
Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO - Whatever sports you’re in–kayaking, running, kitesurfing, etc.–it tracks your distance, speed, and time using your phone’s built-in GPS. Your calorie burn is also tracked, making it convenient to record your personal bests and maintain your form. The large buttons are particularly helpful when you’re doing hard activity outdoors. Likewise, you can share personal stats on Facebook and have fun competing against your friends who use the app to keep you motivated.
Sworkit PRO - It helps you target specific body parts that you wish to work on without the need to buy gym equipment. By entering that part and the time you have, SworkIt Pro gives you a custom circuit training workout using only your bodyweight. You can practically work out anywhere. Get verbal exercise cues, save multiple custom workouts, or set daily and weekly goals.
30 Day Fitness Challenges - It is included in the top 10 paid apps on iTunes and now it’s among the ranking health and fitness apps in Google Play. The app gives you 40 exercise videos showing correct form. It integrates with Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to help you track your progress, all in 30 days. It uses a timer to finish your daily exercise activities, such as, planks and wall sits, plus a daily alert to remind you that you only got 30 days and counting.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock - When it comes to health, it’s not just about exercise and eating right. Sleep counts, too. The app helps you track your sleeping patterns, but more importantly, it tracks the best time to wake you up: the lightest sleep phase, which is the natural way to wake up to feel rested. You put it in your bed and it monitors your movement to determine your sleep phases. The app graphs your daily sleeping patterns, giving you a better understanding when you’re most rested and when you need more rest.
iMuscle 2 - You can actually see which muscle groups you’re targeting with which exercise activity. This app lets you check 3D images of body muscles and how they move and contract in different exercise movements. As such, you can focus on specific muscles that you want to target, making the app useful for precision muscle sculpting or rehabilitative therapy. It’s got a professional-grade fitness program with user-friendly interface.