Exercise may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of video games — you’re probably more likely to recall images of couch potatoes glued to the screen or your little brother playing “World of Warcraft” — but health experts say gaming can actually keep you in shape. We’re not talking about easy breezy virtual bowling or Wii golf … we mean real heart-pumping fitness games that are guaranteed to make you break a sweat in your living room.
Active video games first made their way into our homes back in 2008 with the debut of the Wii Fit. Back then, exercising with a game console meant swinging an imaginary bat with your Wii remote and risking the safety of others — and your TV. Luckily, fitness games have undergone a makeover since then. Anyone who’s ever played a few competitive rounds of “Just Dance” already knows video games can be a legit workout, and experts are taking note.
Just last year, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition added certain video games to its fitness guidelines, and the American Heart Association recently partnered with Nintendo to promote video games as a way to stay active. I decided to put 6 popular picks to the test by adding them to my workout routine — and was pleasantly surprised with what I found. So, if you’re tired of doing the same old bicep curls at the gym, kick your brother off his Xbox 360, pop in one of these games, and play your way to your sculpted abs.