Video game fitness

It’s true. Spending time in front of the telivision can be beneficial!

by Rachel McArthur

Let’s face it. We’ve all been guilty of making excuses to avoid heading to the gym or working out in general (tiredness, not enough hours in the day, work engagements…etc.). Realistically though, there is always time to get moving, and in a country like the UAE, where most jobs involve being sedentary for 8+ hours in front of a computer, it’s more important than ever to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

Thankfully, the more advanced technology becomes, the more options there are for keeping fit, and video game developers were quick to introduce products that were aimed at getting kids and adults off the sofa. One of them is Xbox 360’s Kinect – a motion sensor that enables users to control and interact with their Xbox without the need to touch a game controller. (Think of it as a more advanced version of Playstation Move or Nintendo Wii).

In the past, I have been sceptical about these kinds of products. After all, can working in front of your TV really be as effective as working out in the gym? So when Explorer was invited over to Platform 3 gym to try out Xbox’s latest fitness game, Nike+ Kinect Training, I definitely couldn’t wait to see how it would fare.

And let me tell you… it's an absolutely shattering experience, even after just 40 minutes of training.

Featuring workouts by some of the top Nike instructors in the United States, Nike+ Kinect Training is a personalised programme that helps individuals meet their fitness goals and reach their personal best. Before starting, you’re required to choose the type and level of workout you want. Once selected, the Kinect scans your body before entering you into a room/venue with your virtual trainer on screen.

I decided to mix up the programme so took on everything from cardio to strength training and stretching. I even added a few games (like Japanese Tetris and Dodgeball) for a bit of fun. These games can assess how your body moves, helping to identify your fitness and athleticism, as well as highlighting areas that need improvement. It's like having a trainer giving you real-time feedback.

The only drawback is that there are positions that require you to not look at the TV (such as planks, for example), so it is sometimes hard to see if you are doing it right. Additionally, the Kinect can't spot some of the positions you're doing (perhaps because you are too low on the floor), so ensure your position your screen sorrectly and allow for a good amount of space in your living room.

Would I use it as my main workout? Probably not, but it definitely helps if you don’t fancy forking out loads of cash on a personal trainer. Combine the video game with other forms of activity, and you’ll definitely see results.

Nike+ Kinect Training is out now and starts from Dhs.199. Fancy winning a copy? Head to our competitions page now!

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