If you think video games are best played on the couch, think again. Since the early 80s, exercise video games have made working out more fun. The Wii Fit, launched in 2007, is one of Nintendo’s best-selling games of all time. The Wii Fit 2 isn’t far behind in popularity.

Exercise video games allow you to work out from the comfort of your own home, which can be a huge benefit during a time of social distancing. And whatever your gaming interest, you can combine video games and physical activity to get more movement in your daily life.

A man and woman play a virtual reality exercise video game to get more fit

Exercise video games

Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise

Created for the Nintendo Switch™, Fitness Boxing 2 combines boxing with trendy pop music for an upbeat workout. You can choose from a variety of trainers, each of whom has a different style and personality so you can find the one that motivates you the best. The game also allows you to customize your workout from easy to intense, and even allows you to create your own workout. By using the Switch Joy-Con™ controllers, you can punch with each hand and duck according to the prompts on the screen. As you move through the game, you can earn rewards for new outfits for your character.

Pokémon Go

A groundbreaking game in 2016, Pokémon Go still has plenty of pocket monsters to catch and battle with. To play the game, you have to walk around your neighborhood to find Pokémon, PokéStops, gyms, and more. Due to the pandemic, Pokémon Go has made adjustments so you can play in your home. But for more physical activity, it’s best to play it as intended – by going for a walk! If magic is more your style, you can play a similar game in Harry Potter Wizards Unite.

Many exercise video games make it fun to get outdoors and get some exercise

Ring Fit Adventure

If a fitness Role Playing Game (RPG) sounds like your style, check out Ring Fit Adventure™ from Nintendo. To play the game, you connect a Switch’s Joy-Con™ controller to a flexible Pilates-style ring and the other to your leg. The controllers are then able to measure your activity and track the fitness moves used to move through the game and combat gym equipment monsters. This game can be motivating because there is a storyline to follow, plenty of leveling up and new skills to unlock, and a buff dragon to defeat.

Beat Saber

While virtual reality (VR) games usually boast about their immersive experience, they can also be great for getting some physical activity during a game session. Beat Saber focuses on music and movement, and the goal of the game is to slash at the beat of the song as they come towards you on the VR screen. The game also features special music packs by popular musicians, so you can slash the beats of your favorite songs.

Zombies, Run!

Nothing will get you moving like knowing a horde of zombies is after you. Zombies, Run! is a mobile app that gamifies jogging. You can run, walk, or job anywhere in the real world – including a treadmill. The audio story will keep you hooked, sending you out to gather supplies and telling you to speed up when the zombies are chasing you. With 200 missions, this app will keep you motivated and interested for a long time.

Can video games help you get more physical activity?

How effective are exercise video games?

There are mixed reviews when it comes to the actual benefits of exergaming. Most games will not help you reach the recommended 30 minutes of activity per day for adults. In fact, some games may tell you to rest before you’ve actively gotten a workout. But that isn’t to say that exercise video games can’t be part of a healthy fitness routine. It all comes down to what motivates you to move. If it’s chasing down pocket monsters or slashing through beats, why not use it to reach your goals?

If fitness is one of your goals for 2021, be sure to check out our guide to 5 trackable New Year’s resolutions.