One of my favorite activities for fitness is playing Kinect tennis. I am an advocate of fitness gaming, and I only wish there were more titles available for the Xbox 360. However, Kinect Sports Season 2 can be a great addition to any workout routine. There is more to it than just simply standing and moving your arms about. Here is how virtually anyone can lose weight and get a good cardio workout playing tennis on the Xbox.
Getting More of a Workout With Kinect Tennis
In this example, I am going to use the tennis game that comes with Kinect Sports Season 2. Yes, I know…it’s a bit dated. But that doesn’t mean it is any less effective at helping you slim down. In fact, it could become one of your favorite exercises.
Step 1: Weighted Gloves
Now, you don’t have to use weighted gloves if you don’t want to. However, it will vastly increase the workout. In fact, I found that adding the addition 1.5 pounds on each hand increases the calorie burn by more than 25%. The best part about it is that it shouldn’t affect your game play all that much.
The purpose behind the weighted gloves is to tone muscle mass while causing the body to exert more energy. This means that you’ll be burning various components for the additional fuel required to move your arms about. As a result, the heart rate increases and the body burns more calories and fats.
Step 2: Go Nuts On Celebrations
In Kinect tennis, you’re allowed celebration dances when ever you make a spectacular play. This is when you can blow through a ton of calories. All it takes is for you to flail around like an idiot. Jumping and dancing around keeps your cardio levels up.
For example: When I am faced with a celebration, I do all kinds of exaggerated movements. From jumping kung fu poses to outlandish dance routines, it’s all about getting the body moving. While some of these can be exhausting, it’s worth the effort. Don’t just raise your hand in triumph or just stand there in a single pose. Have fun with it and jump around.
Step 3: Dance During Loading Screens
Just don’t stand there and stare blankly at your television. During the loading screens, do a little dance. It’s all about keeping the body moving regardless of what is going on. The more active you are during these load times, the more calories you’ll burn.
Sometimes, I’ll do standing ab crunches while dancing during the load screens. Essentially, I’ll bring my left knee up and my right elbow down to almost touch while tensing my abs to the rhythm of the music as I alternate left and right. In reality, this is nothing more than aerobic exercise.
Step 4: Taunt the Opponent
I know you really can’t do much to taunt the computer opponent, but it doesn’t hurt to try. While you’re waiting for the computer to serve in Kinect tennis, dance around like you would to taunt the player. For instance, I’ll do a hip thrust while bringing my hands back when the computer hits it out of bounds.
Sometimes I’ll march in place while waiting for the computer to make its move. Like the celebrations earlier, it’s all about keeping the body in motion. If you feel inclined, why not toss out a few jumping jacks in between sets? Any movement is going to be beneficial for cardio activity.
Step 5: Setting Calorie Goals
One of the reasons I started playing Kinect Sports Season 2 was because it kept track of calorie burn during game play. Unfortunately, this isn’t the most effective measure for actual burn. Because there are too many variables, getting an accurate portrayal of burn is almost impossible.
Even though the calories are off by a lot, I still use the game’s ability as a way to set up a goal. For example, lately I’ve been playing until the game says I burn 150 calories or more. In reality, this is closer to 320 because of my body type and the weighted gloves I wear. However, it’s a good measure for time and exerted energy while playing.
Coincidentally, 150 “game” calories takes me about 34 minutes to achieve.
Step 6: It’s Not About Winning or Losing
When playing Kinect tennis for fitness, it really doesn’t matter if you win or lose the game. The purpose of this activity is to keep the mind engaged while getting in a good workout. Don’t feel bad if the computer schools you on the expert level. You’re a winner simply by exercising and increasing your health.
Personally, I keep the game on the “Pro” level. I do this not because I am undefeated, but because it seems I burn more calories than if I was to step it up. Remember, I am going for cardio. However, it is nice to think of myself as undefeated in this aspect. Yes, there is nothing wrong with stroking your ego while getting into an exercise routine you like.
Step 7: Drink Plenty of Water
If you put in as much effort as I do when playing, you’ll need to keep hydrated. Usually, I’ll have my 32oz water bottle sitting next to me while I play. That’s because the constant moving I do will quickly work up a sweat. If you keep your body in motion, you’ll need to replenish yourself of water.
Not everyone considers video games to put you through the proverbial ringer. However, many of the games I have on the Xbox Kinect are quite grueling. This is especially true if you go to great lengths to continuously move your body. Take the same precautions for water and food as you would any exercise routine.
Step 8: Add Additional Exercises
Although playing Kinect tennis for 30 minutes will wear me out, I still try to add a few other exercises when I can. For instance, last week I added a couple of sets for lying leg raises after the game was over. This is because I am trying to build up my abs.
There’s nothing wrong with adding exercises on top of your gaming experience if you feel you need a bit more work. Usually, I am too exhausted by the time I am done playing. But every once in a while, I’ll throw in a few traditional exercises within the tennis routine.
Keep Your Body Moving
In reality, any game on the Xbox Kinect can have more of an impact on your health as long as you can keep yourself moving. Don’t just stand there and move your hands around. Use exaggerated and elaborate movements while you play. Get into the game and take the experience to a whole other level. You’re only limited by how you view the experience.