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The Best Fitness Games

posted by Suzanne Kantra on March 16, 2011 in Health and Home, Music and Video, Video Games, Health & Fitness, Guides & Reviews :: 2 comments

EA Active 2

EA Active 2

When winter jackets become optional, as they were a couple of weeks ago in New York City, I start thinking about the fact that sooner rather than later someone will see me in a bathing suit. It’s not as scary a thought as it was on New Year’s, when I made a resolution to lose the holiday weight and get fit. I’ve lost most of the weight, but I definitely don’t feel ready to hit the beach.

So this year I thought I'd try out the new fitness titles for Microsoft Xbox 360 with Kinect, Sony Playstation 3 with Move and Nintendo Wii to see if they really offer an alternative to going to the gym. Ordering up Fit in Six, NewU Mind Body Yoga & Pilates, EA Active 2, Get Fit with Mel B, and Zumba Fitness, I got to work.

As I powered my way through the titles, I found myself using muscles that hadn’t been exercised in who knows how long, even though I go to the gym on a regular basis. I was sore for days — a sure sign of progress.

On the cardio side, I found less success. The sessions were either too brief or not intense enough to replace my usual cardio workouts. During a typical 50- to 60-minute gym workout, I burn between 500 and 700 calories, according to my Adidas miCoach Pacer, which calculates the calories you burn based on your heart rate, age, weight and height. The same time investment in a fitness title nets me between 200 and 400 calories.

High-intensity cardio is not for everyone, though. So if you like to keep things in the slower, fat-burning zone or are just starting your training, the cardio options may be just right for you.

In all, none of the titles were duds. Some I like better than others, but that’s partly due to personal preference. So keep that in mind as you go through my picks.

Fit in SixFit in Six (for PS3 and Wii)

Fit in Six is my favorite title. The cardio was fun and the strength training was challenging, plus I could work out to my own music. The title accommodates all levels of fitness, with classes that address cardio, balance, upper body strength, lower body strength, core strength and flexibility. As you move through the catalog of classes, you can see which areas are targeted and how intense the workout will be. I've taken fitness classes, so the exercises were familiar, but there are clear verbal and visual instructions for those that aren’t. During classes exercises flow from one to another smoothly and you can clearly see how much time you have left.
Price: $39.99 on Amazon.com

New U Mind Body Yoga & PilatesNewU Mind Body Yoga & Pilates (for Wii)

I haven't taken any yoga or Pilates classes, so was excited to try out NewU Mind Body Yoga & Pilates. I wasn't disappointed. There are great instructional videos for newbies like me, but if you're already up to speed, you can fluidly move through classes. Skip this one if you want a cardio workout. But if you're looking to tone and increase your flexibility, it's a good choice.
Price: $29.99 on Amazon.com

EA Active 2EA Active 2 (for Xbox, PS3 and Wii)

The most challenging cardio workouts can be found in EA Active 2. This title was the only one that raised my heart rate into the aerobic zone. Between strength training exercises, you’re challenged to races and dodge ball contests, which make the title more like playing a game. And if you’re at all competitive, these sections are very motivational. Packed in the box with the game is a heart rate monitor, so you can see how hard you’re working. You can also access your workout stats online. My only complaint is that I found myself waiting for the next exercise to begin.
Price: $39.99 on Amazon.com

Zumba Fitness Zumba Fitness (for Xbox, PS3 and Wii)

If you like to dance, Zumba Fitness will get your heart pumping, though not too hard. And you definitely won’t get bored mastering the title’s nine dance styles — Reggaeton, Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, Hip-Hop, Mambo, Rumba, Flamenco and Calypso. You can jump right in if you’ve taken real-world Zumba classes. But if you’re like me and haven’t, you’ll really appreciate the "Learn the Steps" tutorials. At all levels, you’ll receive visual feedback as to how well you’re mimicking your instructor. Skip this if you’re looking for strength training.
Price: $39.99 on Amazon.com

Get Fit with Mel BGet Fit with Mel B (for PS3 and Wii)

In addition to cardio and strength training, Get Fit with Mel B provides custom meal plans based on your tastes and nutritional needs. I really liked the fact that I got personal feedback on my form as well as verbal coaching as I performed the exercises. I found that the program didn’t "see" me all the time, though, which was frustrating. When you set up the title, you can tell Mel what type of equipment you have, including resistance bands, balance balls and ankle weights. In all, I didn’t find the workouts challenging. The title is best suited to those starting a fitness program.
Price: $21.99 on Amazon.com

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Meditation with a bit of Yoga

From Kevin Sullivan on March 18, 2011 :: 10:58 am

Check out wilddivine.com My Mom used it during her cancer battle.  Mental fitness, with a few yogic exercises thrown in…

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You missed the best one!

From Jon Davis on April 17, 2011 :: 4:06 am

I use Your Shape Fitness Evolved on Kinect, and I am SHOCKED and AMAZED at how good of a workout I get and how well it coaches me. It’s NOT a “one-size-fits all” game that’ll work on anything other than the Kinect, it’s specifically tailored for Kinect and takes advantage of Kinect’s vast and amazing power. More importantly I get an amazing workout so much so that my legs are literally crippled for a week if I push myself too hard. It’s also amazingly cool graphics-wise smile

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