The Daily Gamecock

Column: Fitness video games are a good alternative to going to the gym

As the new year unfolds, fitness remains a common New Year’s resolution for many. But it’s not necessary to buy a whole gym membership in order to achieve this.

For those looking to establish a daily workout, Nintendo has a fitness game called "Ring Fit Adventure" that combines traditional role-playing game elements with fitness exercises to provide a fun and unique way for players to stay active. The game was released in October 2019 and was inspired from user feedback during the Wii Fit era.

Instead of typical workout sessions, Ring Fit Adventure players encounter a mix of mob battles and defeat them by performing various exercises, such as squats and the overhead press. Users can choose to play on either adventure mode or a custom mode that focuses on personalized workouts.

In adventure mode, players start the game by jogging and then run into enemies as they progress. The effectiveness of the player's attacks is determined by the accuracy and intensity of their exercises. This type of play style creates an immersive experience for players.

Combining an engaging storyline and visually-appealing graphics with a hearty workout can help motivate people to exercise, unlike the dreary environment of the gym.

The game is available on Switch for $79.99, and it comes with a large resistance ring and leg strap to put the Joy-Con controllers in. These are essential for tracking players' movement during strength exercises. The Joy-Con's high-sensitivity force sensor can detect force from players pushing or pulling on the controller.

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This feature allows data to be collected after each workout, which is something traditional gym equipment may not offer. The game grades you on how well you did in each exercise by providing a summary of the your activity. This is helpful for those that are looking to improve in specific areas. 

The game is easy to fit into your daily routine, even if it means only doing light exercises for five minutes. One unique feature of Ring Fit Adventure includes setting an alarm on the console for daily reminders. This is convenient for students who struggle with time management due to their hectic class schedules.

Even when students do find time to go to the gym, equipment is not always guaranteed to be available if it’s crowded. This setback can take crucial time out of someone's day.

Chair of USC's Department of Exercise Science Shawn Arent said that working out from home can help people remain active when it is not feasible to get to the gym regularly.

“If you have an at-home resource like that — whether some people have treadmills and bikes and weight training equipment at home. And some people have their Switch, and they can throw in the game that will get them moving — good. You're doing something,” Arent said. 

Just Dance is another fitness game that is accessible on all game consoles. It can be used to burn calories and get a productive cardio workout from dancing along to your favorite songs. Just Dance videos are also available on YouTube for those who don't own a console.

Research from the University of Bath shows that playing some active video games can produce similar physiological results to traditional treadmill exercises. This shows that video games involve more than just sitting on the couch and rotting your brain. They can also serve as a useful tool for people of all ages to get active in their own way.

Technology is always evolving, and it is satisfying to see how it is being used more often to facilitate people's health and well-being. Ring Fit Adventure also provides accessibility options for users with mobility issues, making physical activity inclusive for everyone.

It's time to stop making excuses. The gym may not be your forte, but that's not the only place where you can get quality workouts. Fitness video games could be the revolution you've been looking for.