The best games on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PS4 for indoor exercise
Getting up and on the move is important, not just for your physical health, but for your mental wellbeing also.
So just how can one stay active during these most unprecedented of times?
Thanks to the magic of video game technology and software, there are plenty of ways to stay moving while also staying indoors.
Here are some of the best suggestions. Note that the suggestions we’ve picked out here are only playable on the Nintendo Switch; thanks to its motion sensitive controllers, and the portability of the console itself, the Switch is perfectly suited to fitness games.
However, we have included some advice – and some further suggestions – for gamers playing on other consoles at the bottom of this article.
Rather than focusing on bloodying up opponents or going after belts, Fitness Boxing sees player throwing punches to the rhythm of an up-tempo pop song.
Completing a level and racking points allows you to unlock customisable bits and pieces for your avatar, as well as a wider selection of songs to bob and weave to.
By allowing players to set their own goal as well as programming in how much time they are able to commit, Fitness Boxing offers them a workout tailor-made for each individual.
As they progress, more exercises are opened up to them, keeping things fresh.
Just Dance series
The original Just Dance game was released for the Wii back in 2009, building on the popularity of Dance Dance Revolution-style games by using motion-controls to get the player’s upper body involved too.
Since then, the series has kept a constant supply of updated, upgraded Just Dance games coming, most recently with this year’s Just Dance 2020.
This year’s soundtrack is kitted out with 40 new tracks and includes songs by Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Cardi B and Lil Nas X. Even the most wearied soul will struggle to keep their feet from moving.
It also has a Kids section filled with tracks like Baby Shark, which is perfect for getting the little ones up and moving too.
Even if you don’t have the latest version of the game for the latest console, with the Nintendo Wii being one of the best selling games consoles of all time, chances are you’ll have one collecting dust in the attic, and an old copy of a game.
Now’s the perfect chance to dust it off and get moving!
Ring Fit Adventure
By far the most unusual entry on this list, Ring Fit Adventure represents the latest attempt by Nintendo to integrate fun, colourful gameplay with healthy living.
Ring Fit Adventure is basically an RPG in which you wander a fantastical realm, fending off monsters and completing quests. The catch is that you do so by performing various exercises.
With one controller snapped into a plastic tension ring and the other strapped to the player’s leg, the game offers a full-body workout as the hero runs through obstacle courses, squats down to pick up treasure and battles dumbbell-shaped bad guys.
Brilliantly, it also features a Quiet Mode that trades out running for knee bends for those who want to get in shape without disturbing the rest of the house.
Zumba Burn It Up!
Created by a Columbian dancer in the 90s, Zumba sparked a fitness craze by blending high-intensity training with infectious Latin dance music. Today, there are estimated to be over 14 million Zumba students taking classes all across the world.
Zumba’s high-energy style, emphasis on fun and enduring popularity made it the ideal fit for the Nintendo Switch, and the two have now come together with Zumba Burn It Up!
The game allows up to four players to take on any of its 30 tracks as they shake their hips in time to the music with as much verve and flair as they can manage.
With routines drawn from reggaetón, salsa, merengue, cumbia, hip hop, and Bollywood, there’s something here for everybody.
Wii Sports – the game that came bundled with the original Wii – immediately found widespread popularity thanks to how easy it was for anyone to pick up and play. Naturally, it inspired waves of imitators, with Sports Party now looking to take up the mantle for a new generation.
Sports Party is made very much in the same vein, using a bright and breezy visual style to appeal to people beyond hardcore gamers. Just like Wii Sports, it lets players choose between six different events – Gold, Beach Tennis, Basketball, Skateboarding, Frisbee and Jet Ski.
With various unlockables to be harnessed through the events and colourful game world, Sports Party does its best to make exercising a cheerful experience.
Advice for gamers on Xbox One and PlayStation 4
The Nintendo Switch is perfectly suited to fitness games, thanks to its motion sensitive controllers, and the portability of the console itself.
Unfortunately, other more ‘traditional’ games systems aren’t quite as well catered for, but there are still ways you can get moving if you’re playing on an Xbox One or PlayStation 4.
For gamers on Xbox, you’ll need to get your hands on a Kinect motion-sensing camera and adaptor – which might prove difficult since Microsoft discontinued the tech in 2017.
If you are lucky enough to find one though, you can experience games like Kinect Sports Rivals and Shape Up.
Those playing on PlayStation 4 will have to opt in for the system’s pricey virtual reality headset if they want to experience the very best fitness games on offer there. While expensive, it will allow you to take part in immersive fitness games like Beat Saber and BoxVR.
There are still a few games that can get your pulse racing without the need for buying any extras; the latest Just Dance games let you use PlayStation Move controllers or a smartphone to track your motions, for example.
And games like Yoga Master can see you perform and entire routine without the need for any input, perfect for keeping your physical and mental wellbeing in check.