Exer-gaming: the best new games to get you fit
If you are looking for an indoor alternative for your fitness regime, consider exer-games. They are the latest craze for working out at home and a flurry of them hit the market around Christmas time. Here’s Sportsister’s pick of the bunch.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Ubisoft)
Bring your workout inside with this new fitness computer game. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for the Xbox 360 is set to rival the Wii Fit. Using the Xbox’s Kinect camera, revolutionary ‘player projection’ technology means a 3D version of yourself appears on your TV.
This kind of technology is perfect for fitness games, and while this was the only one available at the launch of Kinect, a flurry of them are sure to flood the market.
An impressively accurate hologram of yourself appears on screen, and your every movement is mapped. Throughout your workout you are given precise feedback from your on-screen personal trainer to ensure you are working out correctly. This is much more accurate than comparable games on the Wii for example as your whole body is tracked by the cameras in the Kinect rather than just through the movement of a controller. So you can’t slack off without it knowing!
You can do a class (Tai Chi, Yoga, Martial Arts and Boxercise are currently available with more to be added during the year) or follow workouts from personal trainers.
More info: yourshapegame.uk.ubi.com
Plus! Sportsister has teamed up with game developer, Ubisoft, to offer readers the chance of winning an Xbox 360 and Kinect for Xbox along with a copy of Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Just click here to enter.
Active 2 (EA Sports)
Like the other two games this also uses motion sensors to track your movements, but this time it works with leg and arm straps with in-built sensors that provide complete freedom of motion and also include a heart rate monitor. Once you have got these strapped on you are ready to go.
You set yourself up on the system with a series of fitness goals depending on the kind of workout you want to have and how often you plan to exercise. A 9-week personalised plan will then be created for you by the certified personal trainers that worked with EA Sports on this game. It provides a fitness roadmap to help keep you motivated and on track of your fitness goals. Additional mini-programs are also available to add on, keeping workouts fresh and inspiring.
After each workout your results are stored, and accurate feedback is given. You can track and share your workout data online through automatic uploading to your personalised EA SPORTS Active profile.
A workout may consist of up to about 30 individual sections, starting off with a warm up. Your on-screen personal trainer will lead you through a series of stretches with both visual and verbal guidance. You copy the movements shown on screen, and if you are doing it correctly your reps are counted on screen until the exercise is complete. There are tutorials you can watch if anything is unclear, but I found them pretty easy to master.
The main section of the workout is varied and fun. Your challenges can range from sprinting round a track, to shooting basketball hoops or scoring goals with a football. Fun activities like mountain biking require you to run on the spot to make the bike go up hills, hold a squat position whilst going downhill and do explosive jumps for taking off over ramps.
As well as the cardio challenges there are also a series of exercises that use resistance bands that are provided with the game. This ensures that you are getting an all over body workout.
There are over 70 different exercises and you can create unlimited customizable workouts. Choose from foundational exercises like squats, lunges, and bicep curls and fun fitness activities such as mountain boarding, basketball, and boxing.
I was surprised by what a good workout it offered, and how varied it was – it really kept my attention, and while I probably wouldn’t make it my only form of exercise I’d certainly use it for days when I didn’t want to head outdoors.
More info: www.easportsactive.com
Zumba Fitness (505 Games)
This is another game which uses the Xbox 360’s Kinect camera.
If you are yet to have the Zumba experience, the easiest way to describe it is a dance class that feels more like a carnival party. It is the brainchild of South American celebrity fitness trainer Beto Perez. Back in 1999 working as an aerobics instructor Beto was forced to improvise when he forgot his usual music for the class he was about to teach. Grabbing a salsa and a merengue tape from his kit bag, he taught to a fusion of Latin sounds and Zumba was born. Since then the Zumba party has swept the world and there are now more than 10 million Zumba fans across 75 countries. And Beto himself has become something of a cult icon in the fitness world!
In the Zumba exer-game players can learn and perfect nine different dance styles across 30 different music tracks and routines. Beto leads you on screen and you follow his steps, whilst an interactive bar shows you how much energy you are putting in, encouraging you to work harder. You are projected on to the screen with the instructor in a choice of locations such as a nightclub, a rooftop and the beach.
You can play on your own, team up with a fellow dancer or compete through Xbox Live with up to eight friends.
Games for the Xbox Move and Nintendo Wii will also be released this year.
More info: www.zumba.com
Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine