Last Updated on October 9, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
I often mention how I use the Xbox Kinect as a way to keep in shape. I am a firm believer in this process not because I love gaming, but because I am living evidence that it’s possible. This is especially true if you put in a great deal of effort into the experience. The bottom line is that it’s possible to lose weight while playing Kinect games.
How Kinect Games Help You Lose Weight
For someone who loves to play games as much as I, systems like the Kinect and the Wii can be quite entertaining. Unfortunately, not everyone puts these systems through the grinder like I do. It’s more than just standing up and making the motions in order to play Kinect games. Let me explain.
More than Just Playing the Game
When playing with the Kinect, you are the game controller. Your movements are recorded and then processed into the system. While some games will keep you constantly active, others may require a bit more from you to burn away the fat.
For example: I love playing Tennis on Kinect Sports Season 2. Although I play the game like I am supposed to, I also add a great deal of flare to my motions. I over-exaggerate swings, I dance around while waiting for the opponent to serve and my victory dances are quite elaborate. In other words, I am constantly moving for 35 minutes.
And that’s the key to burning fat and improving cardio: constant movement.
Some games require quite a bit of movement in order to play. For instance, Wipeout kicks my butt every time I try to play it. I am also still quite out of shape, but I’m getting there.
Keeping You Engaged
Probably one of the most important aspects to using Kinect games to help you lose weight is the process of engagement. Instead of doing the same old routines every day, you can play a different game. Every time I play Tennis, it’s a completely different exercise routine and experience.
This is aside from the fact that most of my games on the Xbox are specifically for the Kinect. I love Kung Fu Panda 2, but I haven’t played it in a while. I damn near killed myself trying to beat Avengers: Battle for Earth when I beat the arcade part of the game, though.
The point is that it’s not the same as following a DVD where you do the same exercises every time. It’s the monotony of not mixing it up when a lot of people become bored and lose interest in exercising.
Easy to Augment
Although playing Kinect games on their own can easily help you burn calories and fat, they are also easy to augment. I will add weighted gloves to most of my game sessions. This increases the workout by more than 25%. As a result, I can burn more playing the Xbox than a lot of people will with regular aerobic exercise.
I haven’t tried leg weights yet, but I look forward to collecting the data on those.
Allow the Xbox to Work For You
Like any other exercise routine, you need to also pay attention to your daily activities outside of routines if you truly want to lose weight. Here are a few of the things I do to allow my Xbox to become one of my perfect tools for fitness.
Monitoring Food Intake
It doesn’t matter if you burn 350 calories playing the Xbox if you eat 1400 calories worth of Taco Bell right afterwards. Like any other fitness regimen, you need to pay attention to what you eat. Personally, I use MyFitnessPal and track all the food I eat.
Since my Fitbit connects to MyFitnessPal, I am able to see the impact of my exercises when it comes to the foods I eat every day. If my activity is higher, I can eat more. If it is lower, I obviously have to eat less. It’s all about finding that balance within yourself if you truly want to lose weight.
Mix it Up
Just like exercise DVDs, mixing up the games once in a while can help keep you from getting bored. I like to try every game I come across for the simple fact that I love to find out which one is the most effective at burning calories. So far, my three favorites are Tennis, Avengers and Wipeout.
Most of the Kinect games I have picked up were relatively cheap at Gamestop. I can only assume that’s because a lot of people are simply too lazy to see the value in staying fit while playing a game. So yeah, I’ll pick up a $2 game to burn some calories. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling all game players lazy. Some of the Kinect games were simply lacking when it comes to engagement.
But it’s still funny to see the price difference in something that can help you exercise versus something that keeps you planted in the couch moving your thumbs around.
Don’t Be Afraid to Act Foolish
Like I mentioned earlier, I over-exaggerate my movements when playing the Kinect. Essentially, I flail around and dance like an ape on cocaine. But, I also burn an amazing amount of calories in the process. After about 25 minutes, I’m already a sweaty mess and ready to quit. Then I add about five to 10 more minutes to the session.
Don’t be afraid to act like a fool when playing. It’s all about keeping the body moving in any way. The more active you are, the more fat you burn for energy.
It’s literally that simple.
How Much Weight Can You Lose?
Losing weight is mostly centered around your personal limitations. These can be both physical and mental. In many cases, it’s the mental part that presents the greatest problem. If you view exercise as more of a chore, nothing you do may keep your attention.
When I lost the first 20 pounds, it all centered around the amount of gaming I did on the Kinect. I added regular walks and bike rides, but the Xbox was my primary cardio device. I still use it today for the same reason. I hold the crown for being undefeated in all of my games in the house. Which is saying something considering my 11-year old daughter is starting to give me a hell of a challenge.
As long as you can keep a good strategy for eating, playing Xbox Kinect games can easily help you lose a great deal of weight. On average, I lost 0.3 pounds per day the first time around. Now that I am now longer sick, I am looking forward to seeing what I can lose this time.