Do Active Video Games Really Help You To Exercise?

Video game consoles have become part of most living rooms over the past decades. Families have slowly accepted that playing video games can be a good form of entertainment, as it is a relatively effective way to keep children (and adults) occupied. While it may not be the best way to spend one’s time for everyone, playing video games has become so common that we sometimes forget if it has any benefit aside from its entertainment value.

Today, let’s talk about just one segment of the video game industry known as active video games. These are games where you use your body movement to control the characters in the game. Is this a good alternative to exercise? Does it even help you lose weight? Let’s find out!


Active Video Games Defined

We first need to define what active video games mean to clarify things. An active video game is a blanket term for games that use movement to elicit a gaming response. Many researchers have studied active video gaming (AVG) and found that it encourages shared learning among players. It also keeps players challenged at multiple levels of experience. 

An example of active video games is the popular Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch. Ring Fit Adventure is an Action RPG where you use the Ring-Con to simulate workout movements. Other types of AVGs use technologies like augmented reality to simulate maps using your phone’s GPS and clock to trigger certain events. 

A great example of this is Pokémon Go, a mobile game where you capture virtual monsters on a map. Another recent development is the use of VR to simulate virtual worlds. Many genres, from sports, RPGs, even puzzle games, leverage VR to make the gaming experience more immersive.


A Good Start To Fitness

As we recover from the effects of the pandemic, it is a must to engage in some form of exercise. The benefits of exercise go far beyond physical fitness. Regular exercise promotes discipline, regulates mood, and puts us in a better mental state. Following a regular fitness routine is by far one of the best decisions you’ll make to improve your life. I’m sure you know that exercise is important. 

The challenge here is the fact that starting (and maintaining) a workout routine can be difficult. Finding a physical activity that you like to do is a good way to jumpstart your consistency in working out.

One thing we need to realize is that building habits take time. Forcing people, especially younger folks, to do something that they don’t like simply won’t work in the long run. When it comes to working out, a critical step that we need to mention is that the activity should be fun and sustainable. People of all ages will always gravitate to activities that excite them. Therefore, playing active video games may help build this habit.


You Can Pick And Choose

There are several suitable options as far as titles go. In this video, we have several examples of active video games to choose from. Ring Fit Adventure is a fantastic first choice if you have a Nintendo Switch. This list also mentions games for the PC, Playstation, and Xbox machines. These are just samples of what’s available on the market. Please check with your local game store to see what’s new in the upcoming months.


Are There Downsides To Active Video Games?

xbox just dance active video game

We already mentioned that these games help start the habit of working out. But we need to also understand that these games are primarily meant to entertain. This means that solely relying on active video games to improve one’s fitness may not be the most efficient approach. 

Progressive overload is a fitness concept where you slowly challenge the body to do more physical work. You can do this by adjusting the number of reps, weight, and pace of an exercise. Doing so helps the body become more accustomed to increased work capacity, making the body more resistant to stress and fatigue.

These games have a limit to the movements you can do. You can’t personalize the program depending on your short and long-term goals. If you choose to use active video games to start your fitness journey, then there’s nothing wrong with it. Just understand that you may want to graduate to do actual sports or start training in martial arts after a few months. Engaging in activities like sports and martial arts are bar none some of the best ways to lose weight, gain confidence, and make new friends.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, yes, active video games can definitely help to introduce fitness to a broad range of people. Using games as a tool to encourage working out is actually a very smart idea, and based on the number of new titles that we’ve seen over the years, it looks like these games have a market and will be a common fixture in the world of gaming. 

Various studies show that obesity rates in both children and adults have skyrocketed to alarming numbers. Children who grew up overweight will most likely stay overweight as they become adults. We need to find ways to improve our quality of life, for our sake and the sake of our families.

If you have a gaming console at home, by all means, go ahead and buy these types of games if you’re interested. They provide entertainment and help you to stay active. 

Once you get into the habit of working out, it is recommended to seek more avenues to exercise. Buy a decent pair of running shoes and go out and run. Check out your local gym to see if their programs interest you. Talk to your local martial arts coach and attend the beginners class. Whatever activity you choose, always remember that your physical health is always your responsibility.


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