5 Best Fitness Games for Your New Years Resolutionby@jamesbore
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5 Best Fitness Games for Your New Years Resolution

by James BoreDecember 21st, 2022
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Fitness games can be very heavy on the cardio side, so for weight loss or strength training you may want to look elsewhere. In this article, we’ll mostly cover games available on mobile as those will likely be the most accessible for the general population. Run An Empire is definitely a game to get you out and about - possibly more than any other on this list.
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It’s that time of year when everyone wants to put together their New Years resolutions and find a way to stick to them. Fortunately, the modern combination of gamification, omnipresent technology, and a bit of willpower can make it a lot easier to keep yourself on track for the year.

The Best Fitness Games for 2023

The nature of fitness games is that they tend to be very heavy on the cardio side, so for weight loss or strength training you may want to look elsewhere. In this article, we’ll mostly cover games available on mobile as those will likely be the most accessible for the general population.

5. Run An Empire

Available for both Android and iPhone, this is definitely a game to get you out and about - possibly more than any other on this list. The gimmick is that as you run, or walk, you capture territory to build up an ever-greater domain to allow you to construct buildings and gather resources.

It’s a nice mix of game and fitness. While it’s competitive, the setup is such that you never feel like you’re struggling to achieve anything compared to established players. The gamified aspects are strong for a mobile fitness game, with a lightweight Civilisation feel to it.

The only reason I don’t rank this higher on the list is that the whole getting out and running around your area thing is very location and weather dependent which limits its usefulness. There is some integration with other health platforms, and background tracking for while you’re running. Currently only walking, running, and wheelchair rides are supported, but the creators claim they’re looking to add other modes in future, such as cycling.

4. Nintendo Fitness Boxing

The Switch is a console that naturally leans into cardio and fitness games, and this is one of the two that make it onto my favourites list. Fitness Boxing and its sequel have a good difficulty curve as your fitness improves. You’ll definitely work up a sweat, and have enough variety in routines and unlockable content that the workouts will keep you entertained for a while.

Even for someone like me who tends to avoid rhythm games, it’s fun to go through one of the workouts. Even the two-player workout option can be entertaining. Sure, it’s not going to teach you how to hop in a ring and box, but it provides a great shadow-boxing workout to keep you moving between coaching sessions.

Plus, as stereotypical as their encouragement is, the virtual trainer’s enthusiasm is a nice mood boost as you’re working out.

3. Active Arcade

While it’s less structured than many of the others, Active Arcade (on Android and iOS) provides a collection of single or multiplayer minigames using a system similar to the Xbox Kinect of yesteryear. Using phone or tablet cameras to detect the players, your bodies are used as the controllers to encourage energetic movement.

Without the structure, it’s not ideal for a standalone fitness programme. However, if you need a different activity to mix into your workouts, this app can slip in perfectly. Even better is the ability to have the minigames as multiplayer, so you can get a bit of a workout with friends as part of a more relaxed party evening.

2. Zombies Run

One of the classics for fitness gamification, Zombies, Run! for Android and iPhone is one of a number of different fitness games by Six to Start and by far their most well-known. While the gamification aspects are limited, the audio drama works so well with running (or walking, cycling, riding, skating, or anything else you choose) that it more than makes up for it. After all, while you’re actually moving you don’t want to be pulling out your phone to make decisions, so keeping the interaction to startup and finish helps.

Over the years the story has built up, and now there are additional stories available within the app if you get tired of Zombies. There’s also a few options to keep things fresh, such as unexpected zombie chases and pickups where you run to a location and back to collect emergency supplies. There’s even a miniseries of Zombies, Stay Inside! Focused on at-home workouts rather than running.

The other thing that comes along with Zombies, Run! Is a friendly and supportive community of fans that’s grown over the years. It’s the only fitness game I know of which has it’s ownfanfic communities, and even cosplay.

1. Ring Fit

Taking first place is definitely Ring Fit from Nintendo. It’s another Switch option, and comes with a peripheral like it’s spiritual predecessor Wii Fit. Unlike the battery-hungry Balance Board, the ring from Ring Fit is a tough plastic peripheral designed to provide resistance training and hold one of the controllers (the other straps to your leg).

What really sets Ring Fit aside from the others on this list is that it really manages to nail the balance of fitness and game. While many fitness apps are gamified, this one manages to be a game with fitness instead. Sure, the RPG might be horrendously corny and fitness-themed - but it is fun and enjoyable, encouraging players to work out and build up their fitness with a genuine story aspect and fitness-based combat.

The plastic peripheral does seem odd to start with, but the resistance training you’ll do with it takes genuine effort and works muscles in a way that none of the other fitness apps in this list do. Overall it’s fun, well-rounded, balances brilliantly between game and training, and even gets a good few laughs as a party game when you have a group round.

Honorary Mention forWeirdness: Burn Your Fat With Me

I have to include this one, if only because in a field of often very-similar fitness games it stands out in a big way. Whether that’s a good or bad way is up to the reader to judge.

Burn Your Fat With Me with for Android or iPhone (the version with a male lead character only works on Android) is a combination visual novel dating sim and fitness app. A set of different exercises, and your virtual anime interest will count along and cheer you on while you go through your reps - all of which goes to unlocking more content and opening more conversation options.

Let’s be honest, New Year’s resolutions are not easy to stick to, but finding the right game to support you through it can make a real difference (speaking from personal experience).

Of course not every game will work for everyone, so if there’s an app or game out there which really nails it for you that I’ve missed on the list, stick it in the comments!