Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: Share Your Experiences With Video Game Fitness!

Q&A Wednesday: Share Your Experiences With Video Game Fitness!

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Q: Do you feel that Wii/PS3/Xbox exercise games are truly providing a “good” workout?

A: I guess it depends. Define “workout.”

Honestly, I can’t call it. I don’t use them. I mean, I own a playstation 2, but I purchased it with the express purpose of stealing cars.

Really, all gaming systems approach this differently, and all games are going to approach this differently. I can give you my thoughts on what a workout can and should entail, and you can decide whether or not your gaming system and game are what you, in particular, really need. All of that is to say, take what I have to say with a grain of salt… or maybe a carrot, instead.

First of all, can it count as activity? Yes. Human beings weren’t initially built to withstand sedentary lifestyles. Any activity – be it bouncing on a trampoline, playing laser tag, or stealing cars for real (which I don’t advocate, by the way) – is going to help counter that sedentary behavior. So if your definition of workout is simply something that gets – and can keep – you active? Then you’ve probably got exactly what you’re looking for, there.

There are games that provide some calisthenics and yoga – two things that I’ve always advocated for in at-home workouts – and while you don’t necessarily need a video game to take advantage of those, having that voice to guide you through can definitely help.

That being said, I’d like to open this up to y’all. What systems do you use? What games do you use? Share your experiences!

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Nicole (akascholar) March 30, 2011 - 11:02 AM

Two words. Jillian Michaels. That woman is a beast. I am drenched by the end of the workout.

Sandra March 30, 2011 - 11:47 AM

Girl…..you aint lie about that!!!! 30 Day Shred!!!!

Curlstar April 1, 2011 - 1:42 PM

My son and I use that almost daily. It helps out quite a bit if you are short on time.

Dee March 30, 2011 - 11:11 AM

I have a Wii and I love it. However, it’s not my main form of exercise. I use it because I enjoy the games, getting in extra activity while playing games is a bonus.

Sarah March 30, 2011 - 11:28 AM

I use the Wii Fit system (the console, the game, the balance board), as well as the EA Sports Active 2 workout game. I loved using them because it combined my love for geeky video games with the chance to actually move. Because of the variety of games I could play, I felt like it could keep my interest more. And, I wasn’t yet comfortable with venturing into the outside world for fitness, so this was a good solution.

I’ve used the Wii Fit for yoga, strength training, and on days when I’ve been sick, but still wanted to move a bit. I never found that I was able to break a sweat, even when going at it hard (started off at 238 lbs., 5’3″).

The EA Sports Active was much more effective for me when I was trying to do more “traditional” types of workouts–boxing, squats, squash, step aerobics, crunches, running, etc. There was also the option of a 6-week challenge, with the workouts becoming more intense each day; as well as mixing-and-matching your own workouts and intensity levels. After working out using this, I was flopped out on the floor panting (but in a good way!).

So, the quality of the workout really depends on the game itself (does it have the options of getting your blood really pumping), and also on your energy levels (how much are you willing to put in vs. how much you want to get out of it).

Drea June 1, 2011 - 2:01 PM

I totally agree Sarah. I have the EA Active 2 and it kills me every time! Doesn’t let me cheat in the slightest lol. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a serious start up workout game.

Sandra March 30, 2011 - 11:49 AM

I can definitely say, I bust out in a sweat from my games. From dancing to MJ The Experience to jogging/running in place. I say yes, if you put 100% in it just as you would put it in at the gym then I say yes, it does work. In my opinion it’s just like having a treadmill at home. As long as you dedicated to it, it can work 🙂

Avien March 30, 2011 - 12:38 PM

I recently about three weeks ago started my weight loss/health journey but unfortunately i didn’t have the time being a full time student and having a full time job to go to the gym i used to so i started using the playstation three move. i have two workout games. getting fit with mel B (i think that’s the correct name) and Zumba fitness. i have to say i rather play the Zumba. it was more engaging and had of sweating like crazy. the mel B didn’t work well because my living room is not very big so i wasn’t being tracked well and i didn’t find it fun. for me my workout needs to be interesting and Zumba did that for me. its been 3 weeks and i have lost 10 pounds by doing Zumba 6 times a week and changing my diet. of course in the near ette i will be adding weight training to my workout schedule but for now the Zumba is working for me

Carmel March 30, 2011 - 1:53 PM

I do the zumba video which is downloaded on my handy dandy Mac. I have the body sculpting one and instead of using the shaking weights I use 8 lb. dumbbells! It’s a butt kicking work out! I just started to do an ashtanga yoga vid I found on Youtube. I feel sooo good after. I ask myself why I begrudge getting started on my work outs. I have sciatica, a pinch in the sciatic nerve in my lumbar region. When I am inactive, it flares up and I am in the worst pain. When I do work out I feel much better. Adding the yoga has been spectacular! I can grab onto the sole of my feet! I used to be so flexible before I injured my back while working out. I am getting back my freedom through exercising the right way now.

Alovelydai March 31, 2011 - 8:31 AM

I have Zumba on Xbox Kinnect is a beast!!! You will get a full body work out, sweat, and drink a gallon of water when you’re done. Good stuff!! Also my son has Kinnect Sports & the boxing game will have you sore in the morning.

Jineane August 10, 2011 - 7:47 PM

I love that you all love Zumba so much. I could never get with that class, and I’ve tried the hip hop, latin, and carribean variations. It just always felt like I could call up my girls throw on a cute dress and some pumps and go dancing.

Laura January 6, 2012 - 11:46 PM

Yeah, I was skeptical about Zumba being an intense workout before I tried it, but I’m usually sweating like crazy and sore the next day whenever I do it.

I do feel like I’m not getting the most out of the workout, though, because I’m just not coordinated enough to do some of the moves! I’m still burning calories, but I’m probably not exercising the right muscle groups as well as I could be. Maybe it’d be better in a class with an instructor instead of using the DVD, but I prefer a home workout (I’m more likely to do it!).

Stephanie March 30, 2011 - 12:44 PM

I have a Wii and the Wii Fit board and game and they provide an ok workout especially when you are just getting back into working out. Zumba, Just Dance (1 &2) and the Michael Jackson experience are good workouts and you will definitely be dripping with sweat when you are done (assuming you put in the effort). They are fun work outs and really get your heart pumping. I love them because it is something that my whole family can do and have a good time while being active. When I first started working out these games were enough but now I use them in addition to spinning, Body Pump, Zumba classes etc.

MzCrafty1908 May 16, 2013 - 12:35 PM

I totally agree with you about the Wii. I’m just working out for the first time in for-NEVER and I find that Just Dance “Just Sweat” songs have me…Just sweating! Lol. It also tells you how many “sweat points” you earn for each song. I’m currently doing the 7 days a week challenge to reach 3000 sweat points every day. By doing some googling, I found out that 4.2 sweat points equals 1 sweat point. So when I do 3000/4.2 = 714 calories burned. I do this every morning and sometimes evenings too when I come home. I have to get this weight off!!!

DaniBel March 30, 2011 - 12:48 PM

I have a Wii but I don’t use it much. If there were a way to turn off the snark and sarcasm when it does the body analysis, I’d probably use it more often :). The balance games are fun and I really love the boxing game because it makes me work my arms, something I often neglect. All in all, though the games are cute, I choose other media when I work out at home. I have bellydancing, yoga, Walk Away the Pounds, African dancing and I like working out with these much more than I like the Wii and trying to figure out where to put the wand.

Erika Nicole Kendall March 30, 2011 - 1:08 PM

Snark and sarcasm during body analysis?


DaniBel March 30, 2011 - 2:19 PM

Step on the Wii balance board and it will measure your weight, your BMI and your center of balance. If you’re obese or overweight, your avatar (Mii) will blow up and the system says “that’s obese!”. And, if you haven’t been on in a while, it pretends it doesn’t know who you are or it asks where you’ve been or something like that. It’s not necessarily offensive, some people probably find it cute, but I’ll admit it annoys me. I’m very glad that Rodney Yee isn’t interactive 🙂

Michalet Corbett-Clark March 30, 2011 - 1:24 PM

Are you kidding Erika?! Super Hoola Hoop can make me sweat and get me warmed up like nobody’s business. (3,237 revolutions) That flap your arms game (I hate it and refuse to remember the name) to fly to the platforms is a beast (What?! I have to fly back!). Boxing has no rest between rounds and the sweat pours like Forrest Gump rain. Cool down with jogging and I’m ready for a nap. 
You have to go at it hard. Doing it like that cutesy picture at the top won’t get you there.

Whitney March 30, 2011 - 2:49 PM

I use Wii Zumba 3 days a week, it’s a great workout for me!

Rachael March 30, 2011 - 4:03 PM

She’s actually right about the wii fit balance board, the thing is mercilous!! The only time that I use it is with my daughter to get her motivated and active, esp since it’s still a little cool for outside sports…but as far as being my sole source of exercise, no, video games just don’t give me the same sense of accomplishment as lifting weights or running a mile…but hey, as long as you’re doing sumthin, right??

turbogirl March 30, 2011 - 9:40 PM

After New Years I bought a Wii and really love the racket sports (Wii Resort etc) and Just Dance. This is not my main form of exercise, I bought it to get me off the couch more and it worked until I spent so much time playing that I developed tendonitis (Ouch!). The sports doc told me to slow down on the Wii and I began to wonder if others went overboard. Still waiting to resolve my left ankle-tendon issues, but still picking up games (EA Sports Active, MJ, Top Spin, Zumba etc) for when I heal up:)

Toni B March 30, 2011 - 10:52 PM

I’m cracking up!! I love that the Wii fit board keeps me accountable when I haven’t hopped on in awhile and my chubby little mii character is cute:). I think the wii is great for working out. I dont use it that often but I enjoy the hula hoop, jogging and working out with Jillian Michaels.

Chandra March 31, 2011 - 12:54 PM

I recently purchased a Wii and I love it. I have Zumba Fitness and I have the Wii Fit which I haven’t used yet. I use the Wii sports too. It does help my entire family get active. After doing Zumba I am sweating. I am going to look into Just Dance 2 and into getting EA Sports Active. I also use Leslie Sansone “Walk Away the Pounds” and I have good old Taebo too. I think its all in your commitment.

nadia March 31, 2011 - 2:06 PM

I’ve been using the Biggest Loser video game for XBox 360 Kinect since January and have lost 30 lbs. It’s a great workout and it’s so user friendly and customizable! I recommend it to people all the time!

Curlstar April 1, 2011 - 1:54 PM

We have the Wii and we use Wii Fit Plus, Just Dance, MJ Experience, and Jillian Michaels. The Wii Fit Plus is okay, certain games I play more of than others because they give me a real challenge and I can work with the trainers. I have just about mastered Just Dance and MJ Experience (that’s the dancer in me). Jillian’s format is very good and does give a challenge. The wood chop move in her game will prepare you for breaking a car window though! 🙂

Donna April 5, 2011 - 10:25 AM

I own a Wii plus the Fit Board. I regularly use my Zumba for Wii game and I do count it as a workout, though, it’s not my primary form of exercise. I regularly burn 400-500 calories during a 45 minute intermediate workout….I burn much more on the expert level. I have also found the Yoga from Wii Sports to be super challenging along with the balance games and boxing. I think these games are as good as the effort and consistency you put into them. The graphics and instant feedback helps keep you mentally engaged. I wouldn’t rely on my Wii for strength training but if it gets people moving, I’m all for it.

Daisy May 17, 2011 - 4:01 PM

I have the xbox kinect. Most games for it give you some activity. Like Kinect adventures has you jump around, duck and dodge things just like Kinect sports. it has you sweating and out of breath in no time. Also the workout games are good because it reads your whole body. So i’ve done yoga on the Your Shape game and it’ll tell me when my arms aren’t in the right place or my legs. Its a good workout but like somebody else mentioned, its like having a treadmill in the house. You have to put in the time in order for it to work.

D.ray August 10, 2011 - 8:01 PM

I’m not a huge fan of the exercise games for Xbox or wii. I have one for each. However, I absolutely love Dance central for xbox. It actually has a workout mode which calculates your calories burned. It doesn’t feel like a workout but it does the job. I lost weight during Christmas and
New years. All while indulging in all the delicious food.

Curlstar January 6, 2012 - 4:07 PM

I have a Wii and just added to my home an Xbox with Kinetic. (thanks mom!) I ironically have Zumba for both systems. I already love my regular Zumba class, so getting into the game was not a problem. I have MJ Experience and Just Dance, and I wear out my in-laws and little cousins on those games. As for the systems and a preference, I love them both, but I will say that the Xbox will give you more of a workout because you have to use more of your body.

Hanethia January 9, 2012 - 4:37 PM

I just got the WII Fit Plus, so I’m going to incorporate that into my routine along with going to thr gym. Hope it works.

DarkAugustChild January 10, 2012 - 3:30 AM

Michael Jackson Experience for the Wii…That will have you SWEATING like Crazy even now and I’ve done Insanity with Shaun T. I have a Wii Fit as well and it was good thing when I first got started then I upgraded to MJ. I’ve become a bit of a Gym Rat now so I don’t use them as much but they are good to have on those days I can’t make it to the gym for whatever reason.

Ramatulai April 4, 2012 - 8:30 PM

I agree with your previous posters. I JUST LOVE my EA Active 2 and works me out pretty well. They have excellent weight training and obstacle courses to go through. I usually do the six week challenge. I also mix it up with MJ Experience and Just dance 3. (I just love to dance). I Then add some Exerbeats from time to time. They have a great kickboxing and karate program. (So much fun). With the EA active alone I get in a good daily workout and I also add in a good neighborhood walk to change it up.

PJ July 12, 2012 - 12:48 AM

I’ve never left a comment, but I have to advocate for the Kinect for XBox 360! It’s fun for the whole family. We play Sports and Just Dance. It’s a serious workout. Everybody was sore the morning after, but we still crawl back to the tv every night. It’s a good way for the family to bond too.

Deanna July 16, 2012 - 10:34 AM

I recently had a baby so my time in the gym has become nonexistent. I put my baby to bed at 7 and use my Wii and it works great for me. I do 1 hr of Walk It Out a walking game and I manage to do 3 miles every night. Then I do 30 mins on Will fit..I do a combination of yoga and strength training. I managed to lose all of my baby weight this way but I am really working on going past and losing another 20 pounds.

Diatta Harris December 11, 2013 - 12:28 PM

We have Wii and XBox which have sports and Let’s Dance games. I get bored with it since I picked up my workout game with boot camp and personal trainer. It is fun and decent for those who have not been active but you will eventually need more to keep seeing results IMHO.

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