Exercise or Die (By Zombies)
by Rachel Hart
If I was to tell you how many exercise videos I own or how many times I’ve started an exercise routine only to stop a few days later out of laziness, you’d laugh, so I’ll spare myself the embarrassment. Those videos sit on their shelves, taunting me and my excess flab mercilessly. That’s why when video game companies, Xbox in particular with their Kinect, began to tout their new exercise games I was wary, skeptical even, as I’m sure most other couch potato gamers like myself were.
I wasn’t too wary, however, to try it out myself, three hundred some-odd dollars later. But before I get off onto the games, I would just like to say that the Xbox Kinect is probably one of the most exciting pieces of technology I’ve experienced (except for my iPhone). It was like a shiny new black toy, albeit a very expensive one.
The first game I tried out was Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012. I liked the fact that it offers a wide range of exercises from kickboxing to yoga, or my personal favorite, ballroom dancing. However, it wasn’t unlike watching any regular old fitness video, except that it keeps track of your progress, how many calories you’ve burned, and how close you are to your chosen goal.
The next game, Dance Central 2, is my favorite to this day. Even with ten years of childhood dance experience, this game is still a tad difficult for me, not excluding the few dance moves that are just plain humiliating to do in front of others. I didn’t realize until the morning after that any more than an hour spent playing this game will result in a massive ache that pulses throughout your entire body. You are warned! I loved that it also includes a fitness mode, a series of three to fifteen songs that play in rapid succession in the difficulty of your choosing. The one thing I didn’t care for was the limited selection of songs and routines–after a while, they can get quite monotonous.
That leads me to my last game, Kinect Sports 1 & 2. I’ve never been the sporty type of girl (Shocker!), preferring to not watch and/or hear about them; I do not follow any teams and know only a few players of various sports by name, but…I do love this game. Each game has six sports, giving a wide range of options. While there are a few sports on the games I cannot stand, such as volleyball, baseball, and football, just to name a few; I do love a good round of golf, bowling or darts. Each vary in exercise, with darts probably being the least exercising and track being the hardest, for me anyway. I love challenging my family to a “sport off” and seeing who’s the best bowler, golfer or table tennis player, though I’m still the undefeated champion of golf. It doesn’t even matter which sport it is as long as you’re moving, which is a welcome alternative since I refuse to walk or jog in this scorching California heat.
While I haven’t seen any major changes like bulging biceps or a chiseled six pack, yet, I’ve started to see quite a few benefits to playing just these three (or four) games, such as an achy back, sore arms, and excellent training for the upcoming (and most likely inevitable) zombie apocalypse. Let’s be honest, I don’t think I could see myself getting very far if I didn’t exercise, even if they do walk or scoot slowly, as I’ve been lead to believe.
Yes, buying an Xbox Kinect and all the above games is expensive, but it’s most definitely worth it, particularly when your health and future zombie apocalypse well-being is involved. And wouldn’t you love to look at your exercise DVD collection and smirk every time you’re forced to walk by it, much like I do? I even threatened to sell them in a garage sale. They’re still shaking in their little plastic cases.
*Warning: Video games have not been proven as an effective means to train for the future zombie apocalypse and a video game manufacturer is not at fault if and when you inevitably die from zombies eating your brains out.
Photo credit: Olly Moss