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Original Xbox Download  Video Game Exercising Original Xbox Downloads

Video Game Exercising


Xbox General
BCossette Writes:

Getting off the couch and into the game – but which burns the most calories?

Like a lot of Americans, regular, daily exercise is a concept I just can't quite wrap my brain around.

I eat fairly well (though it's astonishing I survived beyond my mid-20s). I take stairs instead of escalators when I have the choice. And I'm able to fit into my pants comfortably most days. But I'm hardly a hardbody - and despite many valiant attempts, my periods on the treadmill and other home exercise machines typically last no more than a week or two.

So why not, I decided, give video games a try? After all, the most successful exercise programs are tied to things you enjoy – and there aren't a lot of water volleyball leagues near my house. Plus, there are plenty of folks who have dropped excess pounds by dragging themselves to their feet and putting a little sweat into their game.

To give me a little perspective, I enlisted the aid of personal trainer Kathy Metzler, owner of FitAbility in New Jersey. Though Metzler wasn't present when I tried the various games (there's only so much humiliation I'm willing to endure), she did see each title in action and offered her thoughts on its potential effectiveness.

First up: "Dance Dance Revolution". Actually, first up... my disclaimer. I have the coordination and grace of a spastic walrus. In a dance off, I could get served by that Soy Bomb guy who jumped on stage during the 1998 Grammys. So you should know going in that "DDR" doesn't exactly play to my strengths.

That said, "DDR" is a pretty simple game in the abstract. You stand on a dance pad, with four arrows surrounding you. Onscreen commands let you know when to step on one or more of those arrows, often in beat with the music. When played by someone who knows what they're doing, it can be an amazing thing to watch. I, however, do not know what I'm doing.

According to the game's calculator, I burned 90 calories in a 15-minute period. Not bad, and I couldn't tell if it factored in those times that I wildly missed the pressure point or hit the wrong ones. I suspect it didn't.

Metzler gave the game fairly high marks, saying "as far as aerobic activity, it works efficiently ... you can definitely burn calories at a fast rate."

There are plenty of online testimonials to the weight loss power of "DDR". One site, GetUpMove.com, features the stories of nearly a dozen people who have lost up to 150 lbs. Encouraging stuff, but I fear my utter lack of dance skills will keep me from doing this on a regular basis.

Up next: Eye Toy. This popular addition to the PS2 features a small camera that plugs into your console and shows your image on screen. Using your arms, legs or any other body part you'd like, you physically become a part of the game, with your movements affecting onscreen action.

There are a few EyeToy games on the market. I chose "EyeToy Groove," another music based game requiring you to "hit" certain areas on screen in time with the music. Judging its effectiveness was a bit harder, since there's downtime every couple of minutes when the song ends, but after 15 minutes of actual play/exercise, I had only burned somewhere between 42 and 54 calories.

Metzler loved the game, but was less optimistic about its health benefit potential.

"It's great for kids and I like that it makes them more active," she said, "but I don't know that you'd ever lose weight."

Too bad. As far as pure enjoyment went, this one topped my list.

Finally, there's "Yourself!Fitness," which makes no pretense about being a game. Essentially, this is a personal trainer tailored to the video game generation. Maya, your virtual trailer, first finds out about the lifestyle you lead and, though a series of physical activities, thoroughly checks your current fitness level. She'll help you lose weight, add muscle tone, do yoga and pilates and even put together a meal plan for you. She'll also check to see what sort of exercise equipment you have around the house and incorporate that into the workouts.

I was a bit skeptical of this at first, but I liked how Maya checked my motivation before each workout to know how hard to push me. And no workout was ever exactly the same as the last, which made it considerably more tolerable than a tape or DVD.

When all was said and done, though, I'd only burned 71 calories in a 15-minute workout set at the moderate level – about as many as I'd earn with a brisk walk or going bowling for the same amount of time. Guess I need to ratchet up the difficulty next time.

Metzler saw potential in Maya and her moves, but said she would like to see more guidance given to users. (For example, while Maya correctly told me how to do squats, the on-screen illustration gave a conflicting image, which could have hyper-extended my knees, according to Metzler.)

"You have to assume that anyone purchasing this doesn't know what they're doing," said Metzler.

In my case, that'd be pretty much spot on. Even after watching the in-game tutorial, my aerobic V-step made me appear to be a drunken square dancer involved in some sort of intricate prayer ceremony.

Maybe it's time to just bite the bullet and join a gym.

News-Source: http://www. http://money.cnn.com/.com


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