Exergaming: Fitness and fun in front of your TV?
Active-play video games may encourage adults — including those with heart disease — to be more active.
Looking to liven up your indoor exercise routine? You might want to try exergaming — a fitness trend that incorporates exercise into a video game. Also called gamercising, the workouts may be more motivating and fun than a traditional exercise video.
"One advantage to exergaming is that the game choices are so broad, you can tailor the exercise to your own particular interest," says Dr. Ashwin Babu, a sports medicine physiatrist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Depending on the video gaming system, you can choose from a wide array of simulated sports and recreational activities, including baseball, bowling, boxing, cycling, football, golf, table tennis, track and field events, skateboarding, skiing, tennis, and volleyball. Some offer muscle-strengthening workouts, balance and stretching, aerobic exercises, dancing, and martial arts. Others feature adventure games that you "play" with your body movements, such as moving your arms, jumping, squatting, running in place, and sidestepping.