Do workout video games really work?

May 17, 2013 8:36:38 PM PDT
If you are trying to get fit for summer, you may be tempted to try video game workouts. But can they deliver the results?

The gym is not the only place you can get fit. These days, there are a host of video games offering workouts. Consumer Reports looks to see if they can help you go from coach potato to beach ready.

There are lots of video games on the market that are advertised as a fun way to get fit.

Consumer Reports checked out five: Nike Plus Kinect Training, Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013, Just Dance 4, UFC Trainer, and Zumba Core. They cost anywhere from $20 to $50.

Tester Matt Ferretti assessed the workout the games provide, using a monitor to measure heart rate.

"All the games aren't equally effective. Some of them are a lot more strenuous than others and provide a real fitness challenge, whereas some of them are more just party games and really don't provide a great workout," Ferretti said.

Nike Plus Kinect Training and Your Shape will give you tougher workouts, while Just Dance 4 is less, well, grueling. The gaming console you use can also make a difference in how much of a workout you actually get.

"The Xbox is going to be the most effective for these types of games, because using the Kinect, the camera can actually track your full body's movements, whereas with the Wii U or the PlayStation 3, it can only see the controller, not your full body. So it's easier to kind of cheat the system, and it's not tracking your body as accurately," Ferretti said.

If you're looking for a game that can give you a tough workout, try Nike Plus Kinect Training.

For a good cardio workout that also provides some fun, Consumer Reports recommends Zumba Core. The quick dance steps get your heart rate up and keep it interesting.

Zumba Core is available for Xbox Kinect, which does the best job of making sure you get a good workout. But if you have a Wii U or Sony PlayStation, it's available for those, too. Just make sure you don't game the system, or you might as well stay on the couch and play Mario Brothers.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13


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