Can I Use Video Games to Exercise and Lose Weight?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Most exercise-based video games are suitable for the whole family.
Most exercise-based video games are suitable for the whole family.

Despite their bad reputation, video games can actually be good for you. Scientists have long been using different games to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and pre-surgery anxiety. With that said, is it a surprise that they are also reaching into the weight loss market? Scientists agree that combining video games and exercise is a great idea, as many kids spend hours anyway playing in front of the TV.

People of all ages can use video games to exercise and lose weight.
People of all ages can use video games to exercise and lose weight.

One of the oldest video games to incorporate exercise was Dance Dance Revolution® (DDR). DDR consists of a pad with colored arrows; as a character dances on the screen, players simply follow the moves by stepping on the right arrows on the pad. A typical workout on the DDR lasts for about 15 minutes, although longer ones can be programmed.

Another example of how to use video games to exercise is the Entertrainer®. This simple device can be hooked to any TV or radio and then strapped on to your chest. As long as you keep your heart rate up, the Entertrainer® will do nothing. If you stop moving, however, the machine will start lowering the TV volume until it eventually turns it off. How you keep your heart rate, however, is up to you. Jumping, running in place, and agitating your arms are all acceptable techniques.

Many people associate video games with lethargy and weight gain.
Many people associate video games with lethargy and weight gain.

If you need a little more guidance, choose the GameRunner®,one of the best additions to video games ever to hit the market. The GameRunner® looks like a regular treadmill, except that it can be hooked to first-person shooter games. Using special devices in the handlebars to do anything from shooting to keeping your characters on the run, the GameRunner® is one of the best ways to enjoy active games.

Video games have become a weight loss method for some people.
Video games have become a weight loss method for some people.

Other video games that can be used to exercise and lose weight include: EyeToy Kinetic®, where a small camera hooked to your TV set transforms you in the main character of the video game. Once on the screen, you are prompted to kick, punched, and destroy a series of objects by doing certain moves on real life. Finally, Tetris Weightlifting® is one of the few video games created to develop muscle tone rather than cardio. To put the pieces in place, you are asked to move a weighed bar, which provides a significant upper-body workout.

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Discussion Comments

cougars

@ ValleyFiah- Some games out there claim to exercise your brain. Nintendo DS video games like Brain age, Challenge me math, and challenge me brain puzzles all help exercise the brain. The DS even has book collections that allow users to read classics from some of the greatest authors.

The time when video games were strictly for kids is over. Game developers are now creating games that are entertaining for people of all ages. I even have a few older neighbors (in their fifties and sixties) that play games like Dance Dance Revolution on their Xbox. I have to say that a walking past my neighbor’s condominium to see a group of people almost into retirement playing Dance Dance Revolution is a welcome sight, if not a little amusing.

ValleyFiah

@ Anon25539- The Wii is a great way to get a little exercise. I do not know if I would make playing video games a part of my weekly exercise routine, but playing some of the games on Wii, the Sony Motion Eye, or the new Kinect and can definitely make you break a sweat.

When my friend bought a Wii, we played boxing, and the sword fighting game red steel for a couple of hours, and I definitely felt like I had done something more strenuous than play video games. It was not the same as playing a game of basketball, or taking a bike ride, but it was healthier than eating chips and watching a sports game.

One thing I can say though, is that motion gaming is something I definitely will not be doing in public. You look like an absolute fool waving imaginary swords around and punching at thin air.

anon25539

Don't forget about the Wii! Its exercise too.

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    • Most exercise-based video games are suitable for the whole family.
      By: Kurhan
      Most exercise-based video games are suitable for the whole family.
    • People of all ages can use video games to exercise and lose weight.
      By: Dave
      People of all ages can use video games to exercise and lose weight.
    • Many people associate video games with lethargy and weight gain.
      By: Paolese
      Many people associate video games with lethargy and weight gain.
    • Video games have become a weight loss method for some people.
      By: Sergio Martínez
      Video games have become a weight loss method for some people.