If you love nothing more than heading to the sofa and spending a couple of hours playing your favorite game, you have no doubt been told by more than one family member that sedentarism is dangerous. As stated by Forbes’ Nicole Fisher, Americans are spending more time sitting down – and this can up their risk of obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Of course, the fact you do enjoy gaming does not have to contribute to this problem. Is there a way to turn it all around so you actually receive physical and mental health benefits from your cherished hobby?

Choosing Active Games

You may already be hooked on GTA or Fortnite, but try to ensure there are a couple of games in your arsenal. A 2018 study by researchers at Louisiana State University found that video games, in combination with fitness coaching and the use of a step tracker, helped overweight gamers reduce their body mass index by 3% and lower their cholesterol and blood pressure rates. It also helped them get more physical as a whole. Researchers reported that participants in the study (children aged 10 to 12) also improved their sense of self-efficacy and their beliefs regarding self-control. The latter, scientists said, predicts the extent to which individuals will stick to their exercise routine over time.

What Type Of Games Should You Choose?

There are many games which are ready to make a home workout easier than ever. These include Xbox Fitness (offering a plethora of workouts, including Tai Chi, Insanity, and dance classes); Wii Fit U (in which you not only move your body but also play games while you’re at it); and Just Dance (try to follow choreographies to current hits as well as you can). If you are the type of person who regularly subscribes to gaming boxes, opt for those that support physical fitness. Some companies send mystery boxes containing cool gymwear. Others are focused on fitness tech such as personal trackers. There is no problem with playing traditional games, but adding a bit of balance into the equation will certainly be beneficial.

How Many Calories Can You Burn by Gaming?

A study by the American Council on Exercise found that Wii Sports can help gamers get a good workout. Wii Fit, their research showed, also burned calories – in this case, twice as many as normal video games. However, this research also showed that performing the ‘real activities’ represented in the games – for instance, boxing or running – burned significantly more calories. The issue isn’t necessarily about which (gaming vs reality) to choose, however. Rather, fitness-focused games can be used alongside traditional outdoor and gym workouts. 

At this point in time, in which many people are confined to their homes, home fitness games are an ideal way to keep the circulation going and your mind entertained. The key to boosting the health benefits is to opt for active games. They may burn fewer calories than ‘the real thing,’ but they will still get you off the sofa, boost your circulation, and keep you entertained.

Sally Perkins

Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.

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