How To Use Sports Video Games For Exercise

By Steven Walker
Apr. 16, 2019

Using sports video games for exercise is a wonderful way to combine a favorite hobby and a quest for more physical activity or calorie-burning endeavors.

With the abundance of motion-sensor technology available on modern consoles, such as the Xbox 360 Kinect and Playstation Move accessories, more and more video games are combining the thrilling action of competitive sports along with a virtual environment in the comfort of your living room.

Sports video games feature more than baseball and basketball

If you think that sports video games are limited to traditional team-based sports, like baseball and basketball, you are mistaken. These days, video games featuring billiards, martial arts, dancing, and fitness routines are all available with motion-sensor technology. Gamers who enjoy skiing, mountain climbing, archery, or bowling can find a title featuring these sports, and plenty of titles feature NFL, NHL, and NBA teams with corresponding activities.

It’s no coincidence that the sports genre and the occasionally used “fitness” genre overlap in terms of titles; both genres combine a love for movement, if you need help on homework with physical activity, and fitness with an enjoyment of video games.

Motion-sensor technology can provide exercise and education

When endeavoring to use video games for exercise, it’s important to take advantage of sports titles that utilize motion-sensor technology in order to achieve optimal exercise. As much as games like Resident Evil can give your thumbs and fingers a workout, you really need an Xbox Kinect, Playstation Move, or Nintendo Wii to get the most out of this popular type of physical activity.

Another benefit of sports video games geared toward exercise is the built-in education value in many of these titles. If you’ve never visited a Zumba class, you can still become familiar with the moves, techniques, and motions that have popularized the Zumba trend through video games like Zumba Fitness. Even pub favorites, like darts or ping pong, are featured in sports video games, complete with a tutorial mode. While it does help to have a basic understanding of sports such as baseball or basketball before renting a copy of Big League Sports, the guidelines and instructions within most sports video games with Xbox Kinect or Playstation Move enabled will walk you through the activity step-by-step.

You might be surprised by how many video games that are not within the sports genre have combined motion-sensor accessories and a typical gaming experience. I was shocked by how much Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for the Nintendo Wii used the Wiimote for in-game interactions (my review is available here). I was off the couch and moving my controller to throw off enemies on my back, to open locks, and even swim across a lake.

You can empower weight loss with video games

If you are trying to lose weight, you might not immediately consider video games as a source of exercise and calorie-burning fun. However, the combination of sports video games and motion-sensor technology has revolutionized the notion of combining gaming and physical activity. In fact, the popular Weight Watchers program has the Wii Fit Plus system built into the activity calculator used for tracking daily physical activity. You simply select which elements within the Wii Fit Plus video game you used, enter the time spent on that activity, and receive an award of “points” (representing calories burned). The Wii Fit Plus certainly isn’t the only option for combining diet objectives and video games, but it is a wonderful place to start for beginners who own a Nintendo Wii who want to use sports titles to burn calories.

Of course, you should check with your physician before beginning any fitness routine. While using sports video games to increase your physical activity can be wonderful and a lot of fun, safety is far more important.