4 Video Games That’ll Get You Moving at Home
Get fit and have fun at the same time
Maybe you’ve seen your kids play a video game called “Animal Crossing” over the last few weeks. The latest iteration in the series was released mid-March, just as people across the country suddenly found themselves sequestered at home. The online game, which lets you fish, farm, and trade to build your own simulated island, has been popular, largely because it lets users play alongside friends or strangers at a time when so many of us are starved for social interaction.
While “Animal Crossing” may keep you socially engaged, it won’t do much for your activity level. But other video games can. A study published in 2019 in BioMed Research International suggests that certain exercise-based video games can help adults meet their physical activity targets. The options listed below are the perfect way to sneak in a little exercise without ever leaving the house. If you already have any of the gaming systems mentioned below—“Animal Crossing” is available for Nintendo Switch, for example—then these fit-focused games are just a download away.
Perfect for: Music lovers
Game: Just Dance 2020
Players: 1 to 6
Gaming Console: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, or Nintendo Wii
The latest in a long-running series, Just Dance 2020 lets players twist and sway to 40 popular songs. Earn points by following along as animated characters perform a variety of dance moves. Just Dance games have always favored fun over competition—there are no winners or losers; just earn points to unlock new songs—while still providing a full-body workout. There’s also a kids mode with simpler choreography.
Perfect For: Would-be percussionists
Game: Beat Saber
Gaming Console: A virtual reality headset such as Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR
For sci-fi fans looking to get a cardio workout, this virtual reality game takes players to a neon-soaked virtual space where rhythm is king. With a controller in each hand to detect movement, users choose from a list of songs and slash away at multicolor blocks that approach in time to the music. Swipe too early or too late and you lose points. The concept will be familiar to those who have played Guitar Hero or Rock Band, but Beat Saber encourages more physical movement.
Worth noting: You won’t be able to see your literal surroundings while wearing the headset. Make sure the floor is open and clear (and try not to knock over any lamps!). And if you have balance issues or a loss of sensation in your feet due to diabetic neuropathy, you may want to skip the VR games.
Perfect For: Gamers who need to stay seated
Players: 1 to 2
Gaming Console: Nintendo Switch
For those who like the idea of boxing but have no interest in being punched, there’s Arms. The game takes the traditional concept of head-to-head matchups and gives it a zany twist. The cartoonish boxing characters of Arms use spring-loaded arms and super-powered gloves to fight opponents from a distance. With a controller in each hand, you use arm movements to duck and weave and attack your virtual opponent. Choose different characters, each with their own unique abilities, and earn points to make upgrades. Arms isn’t as intense a workout as some other options, but it’s a fun way to work up a light sweat.
Perfect For: Puzzle solvers
Game: Superhot VR
Gaming Console: A virtual reality headset like Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR
This game may sound traditional at first: Players face off against virtual bad guys who attack with guns, knives, or fists as each level increases in difficulty. But the twist with Superhot VR is that in-game time stays frozen until the player moves. Say, for instance, an opponent is coming toward you with a knife. Freeze to stop time and plan your own counterattack. A bad guy fires a gun? Slow your movements to simultaneously slow the bullet in midair. It sounds tricky, but the gameplay turns each level into a puzzle that requires you to analyze the situation and come up with the best strategy for attacking enemies and dodging bullets.