How the Xbox Kinect Is Still a Great Workout Tool

I am in Day 3 of a personal case study to demonstrate Avengers: Battle for Earth, weighted gloves and weight loss. It’s been a while since I stood in front of the Xbox 360, and I am definitely feeling the burn. I knew the Xbox was a good workout tool, I just never thought of how much of an impact it truly makes.

With the Xbox Kinect, you are the controller. Movements are recorded by the sensor and your actions are delivered into the game. Some games have a more lax approach to movement, which really doesn’t get the blood flowing as much as I’d like.

However, other games and practices make the Xbox Kinect my favorite workout tool. After three days, I am a hurtin’ unit thanks to a Marvel fighting simulator and weighted gloves.




What Makes the Kinect an Excellent Workout Tool?

One of the biggest problems I have is staying motivated to commit to a routine. A lot of exercises just feel so mundane, and it’s difficult to focus on doing them every other day.

The highlight to using the Kinect as a workout tool is I can change it up and play games while getting exercise. This is mostly because I don’t just stand there and wait for the game. Even on loading screens, I am moving about.

Gamification of Fitness

changing habitsGamification is a popular trend in just about everything. This is when you turn regular activities into some form of game to make them more engaging. Businesses will do this as it improves performance and productivity levels.

When you’re not thinking about exercise as a chore, it’s easier to commit. If you have fun doing something, it’s no longer a chore and can easily become habitual.

Although the number of games for the Xbox Kinect is lacking, I still find enough there to keep my mind engaged. And keeping the attention of the player is where it’s all at.

Cardiovascular Activity

A lot of people are overweight simply because they don’t get enough cardiovascular activity. I know this is my problem, especially since I spend so much time sitting at my desk every day. Using the Xbox Kinect as a workout tool helps control all of that.

It all breaks down to how much your heart beats while moving about. For example, my heart climbed as high as 150 bpm while playing Battle for Earth and wearing weighted gloves. That’s because of how much effort I put into playing the game for nearly 30 minutes.

In many instances, I can get as much cardio activity playing the Kinect as a lot of people will by doing aerobic exercises for the same amount of time.

Improved Agility and Strength

Kinect TennisResistance training comes in all forms. When pairing the Kinect with weighted gloves, you’re definitely improving strength and agility. I’ve noticed profound differences in my body just simply playing tennis.

For example, after a week of using weighted gloves to play, I decided to load up the Kinect without them. During game play, I was much faster on the digital court in my movements than I was before.

The results were shocking. I was truly impressed by how well my body was developing simply by playing the Xbox.

Is it Practical to Use the Xbox Exclusively to Lose Weight?

As long as you can work up a sweat, almost anything can be used exclusively to lose weight. If it’s something you love to do, there is no reason to alter your progress. Just makes sure you don’t get overly bored with the same game every day.

Good Calorie Burn

In reality, I can burn as many calories playing Kinect Sports Season 2 without gloves as I can going for a brisk 3.5 mile-per-hour walk. And since I am on my feet while playing, it’s nearly a complete body workout…depending on the game.

Let’s put it this way, so far I’ve lost 4.2 pounds in the last 10 days even after having four of those ruined by gorging myself on Christmas goodies.

Less Expensive than Gym Memberships

After paying for the Xbox, Kinect, games and gloves, I still spent less on making this system a workout tool than I do for a gym membership. This is partly due to the fact I was roped into a three-year contract from Anytime Fitness for $45 per month.

Yeah…I know.

It’s also less expensive than buying machines such as a treadmill or an exercise bike, which only have one purpose. If I don’t want to fight in Battle for Earth, I can simply change the disk and go bowling. Exercise machines are quite limited in that regard.

Other Features of the Xbox

Xbox Kinect GamesThe Xbox is more than just a workout tool in the house. It’s also a gaming system, a way to watch Netflix and an overall great entertainment unit. So the investment to buy one offers a great deal of flexibility, unlike other devices.

I gave the Wii a go when first trying to lose weight. However, we found you can easily cheat by sitting on the couch and moving the controller. The Xbox Kinect eliminates that by making you stand to play. It’s one of my favorite features, actually.

And yes, I still like to play Minecraft with my children when I’m not battling to be undefeated in tennis.

Don’t Forget Eating Habits

Using anything exclusively to lose weight only works if you change your eating habits. You can burn 300 calories playing Battle for Earth, but it won’t mean much if you eat 800 calories worth of cake afterward.

You still need to find a balance in eating habits if you want anything to work to lose weight. This includes going to the gym, sitting in a Bowflex or riding your bike across town.

The key is understanding proper portion sizes. Eat enough to give your body nutrition, but not so much you put on fat.

What Happens Now?

ARX DashboardWith Microsoft pulling manufacturing of the Kinect, it saddens me. It’s such a useful tool for health, it’s disappointing how game developers didn’t put more effort into creating engaging titles.

It all comes down to superior profits. Too many developers are just too greedy. After all, Wall Street needs its payout.

When all is said and done, I’ll continue keeping an eye out for fitness gaming. But until something comes along that is as prominent for me as a workout tool as the Xbox, I’ll keep searching for Kinect games and playing.

The ARX project looks interesting. But I don’t know if it’s enough to really engage me in terms of fitness.

Many Video Games Are Healthy

Since the first game systems hit the market, there has always been debate – especially when it involves a game with exceptional violence. However, I personally have seen the bonuses to virtual stimulation. Stress therapy, hand-eye coordination development and weight loss are only a few of the perks of what games deliver.

I only hope I can find a replacement workout tool if and when my Kinect breaks down.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael is a work at home father who has completed a wide assortment of writing regarding various topics. Currently, he is working to achieve a weight loss goal and improve health in order to cross the state of Colorado on bicycle.

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