Raise your hand if you are one of the many Americans who received an Xbox with Kinect for Christmas (raises hand on behalf of the divas).
I was once vehemently opposed to game systems, but this is a nice accompaniment to our existing Nintendo Wii. The intention of this post is not a review of the system, but I will say not having to have a controller in your hand while you are actively playing is nice.
Now my kids got theirs from their dad because…well, they’re kids. YOU, however, might have bought either an Xbox or Wii as a way to be active at home. It is in the spirit of that motivation that I offer you my Top 5 “movin’ and shakin’” video games for the Wii and Xbox with Kinect (in no particular order but for fun I thought I’d do a reverse countdown…you know…to keep it spicy!):
#5 – For the club hoppers: Just Dance 2 (Nintendo Wii)
I like this game a lot. It’s easy enough to play. You just do what the person on the screen does. What the person on the screen does is very, very simple. Usually it is no more than five moves and they are repeated in order. It’s basically fashioned around our brain’s way of remembering things and after you do a routine once, you can do it again very easily. My favorite routine for a workout? “Proud Mary” by Ike & Tina Turner. The game also has a workout mode to get you burning calories, routines for pairs and it uses both current songs (like “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha), 80’s favorites (“Wake me up before you go-go” by Wham) and “Oh snap! I haven’t heard that since I was a kid! (“Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte).
#4 – For the gym rats: My Fitness Coach 2
Why is it I always get the 2nd version of games and not the first? Dunno. Anyway, this is a good one is good for people who want a bit more of a challenge than Wii Fit but are a little frightened by the EA Sports Active commercial. This game has three kinds of workouts. It uses data you input (and from the balance board) to design a workout to target whatever you want to target (my current program targets my belly) and includes a mix of cardio and strength workouts that automatically load for you each day. If you only have a few minutes to work out, it also has quick workouts.
And if you want to take it up a notch, it has challenges – extra long, themed workouts. There is a boxing challenge (my favorite), ballet challenge, army challenge, etc. The game scores you on several factors (whether you were able to complete the moves, timing, coordination, etc.) to give you something to compete against (good for people like me who are into that) and the game even offers meal plans (which, so far, are surprisingly WLS friendly, although I don’t follow them).
#3 – For the rest of us: The Biggest Loser Challenge (available for both Kinect and Wii)
I’ve always liked the Biggest Loser workout DVDs. Probably because I love me some Bob. This workout is good because it caters to people at whatever their beginning fitness level, uses positive feedback and active encouragement to keep you going. You can record your progress, design a meal plan and the game gives you tips on how and when to kick it up a notch. So if you are a fan of the show, you’ll be a fan of this game!
#2 – For the former “Track & Fielder”: Kinect Sports
This game doesn’t JUST have track & field stuff. It also has bowling (and might I mention that I kick La Grande Diva’s butt in Kinect bowling whereas she kicks mine on Wii), boxing and all kinds of other sports. My favorite is the track & field stuff. You can do sprints, hurdles, javelin and a bunch of other fun stuff. Took me right back to field day in school…except this time I participated!
#1 – For the inner “Latin God(dess)”: Zumba Fitness! (for Wii)
I took a Zumba class. From it, I learned that even though I am 1/8 Latina…I have no rhythm. At all. Whatsoever. But in the privacy of my own home that’s ok. Yes, the children laugh at me but then again…at their ages that’s not an uncommon occurrence.
Getting back to the game. So it teaches you all the hot Zumba moves (over 30 routines). It requires a special belt remote (included with the game) but that’s the only remote you need. Unlike “Just Dance” the moves are a little more complex (in my opinion) but it’s ok because they break it down for you before you are actually expected to do the moves. That’s a plus. According to my GoWear, an average Zumba Fitness gameplay session (for me, that’d be about 30 minutes) burns about 150 calories. Not bad!