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Fitness with your gaming system

I'll admit it - my boyfriend and I are the very proud owners of an Xbox with Kinect and a Wii. No, we don't have children, and yes, we're young, active, hard-working (and mature?) adults with full-time jobs and a full social calendar. We just really love video games! While Brian's tempted to play Madden '13 online with our friends (who live in the same city) for days and I'll happily play Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the millionth time after a hard day's work, we're also huge fans of the latest developments in the motion sensing technology of the Kinect and Wii - me especially. As I try to find motivation and time for fitness and exercise during my busy schedule, my gaming consoles have become my new best friends. Forget the stigma of video games promoting laziness; some of these new games get you moving.

Disclosure Do I recommend that you ditch your running regimen and sell your free weights and yoga mat? Absolutely not. These games will make you move, but it's important to have a balanced and challenging exercise routine with lots of variety to see results and keep you motivated. Think of these games as a rainy day alternative to playing Frisbee for half an hour or going on a leisurely hike. Remember: as with any exercise, you only get out of it what you put into it. So...does it work? Yes! You may find, however, that it works in a way you'll least expect it to. I pick up a game when the idea of dragging myself to the gym sounds just terrible. After 10 minutes of playing and getting moving, I don't want to stop. For me, these games are just the push I need to doing some serious work. Since I figured this out, I take full advantage of it. Before I play, I'll have my running shoes, yoga mat and free weights ready for that moment when I decide I'm done playing, but still want to keep moving. If I have everything right next to me, I'll be more inclined to actually go for a jog or sneak in a 15 minute strength-training routine after I've already started exercising. Another way it helps? Days when the weather keeps you and your family inside. These games are a great way to get everyone to ditch boredom, stay positive, have fun and expend some of that pent-up energy from being cooped up. Dancing games In my opinion, these are the best option for an indoor cardio workout. I actually got to try a couple thanks to House Party - and they got my heart rate up and I had TONS of fun playing them (after I got over how silly I looked). My recommendations, available for both Xbox and Wii: Just Dance 4 (or one of the older Just Dance games if you want to save money) Zumba Fitness Training "games" Some of the games that you can buy for Xbox or Wii aren't games at all. They're meant to be trainers in your own home. Admittedly, I don't use these as much as I would like to because I usually tend towards picking up a dance game, but I've tried a few of them. I prefer to use the Xbox with Kinect for these games because the Wii versions usually come with sensors that can be a little uncomfortable to wear once you start getting into your workout. The beauty of these games is that unlike an exercise video, you can personalize your workout with trainer recommendations, preset workouts and custom options. Additionally, there are options for every skill level. If you're starting from scratch, don't be afraid to buy one of these games. You can work your way up to more challenging exercises gradually. My recommendation: watch the videos and read the websites I linked to and pick one that you can dedicate yourself to for at least 3 months. Give it a real shot. These games also track your progress (and expect you to return on certain days based on a schedule you create), so jumping from one to another can mess up the great information it relays back to you. EA Sports Active 2 Elite Nike Training The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout I personally will be starting a new routine with the New Year. If you are, too...I hope this helped! Have you tried video game-based exercise? Any tips, tricks or game recommendations to add? Image courtesy of jordanmerrick

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']#[/author_image] [author_info]Sarah is a friend of House Party. Sarah held a few roles during her three years with the company, most recently as our Community Manager. This is a fancy way of saying that she made sure that you were heard, helped and having fun. She also tweeted as one half of the contributors to our @HousePartyFun Twitter handle with Jared. She was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, but has since moved to the northern corner of New York City, where she lives with her boyfriend and their sassy chinchilla, Rufus. Audiophiles at heart, they've crammed-in five guitars and way more speakers and gigabytes of music than a little apartment should hold. Her party tip: no matter the size or type of party, put on music just loud enough to cover up the sound of chewing (ew!), but not chatting. [/author_info] [/author]

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