I told my girlfriend I can get into shape using interactive video games. She's not buying it. Who's right? (Note: A Kinect or Nintendo Wii hangs on your answer.)
If you’re aiming for six-pack abs and giant guns, your girlfriend is right to be suspicious. However, for the average couch potato, it can be overwhelming to jump right into a vigorous fitness plan. Because interactive gaming does get you up and moving, it can be a stepping stone to a real workout.
I think part of the appeal is that these games have no intimidation factor. You don’t have to worry about feeling less fit than the person on the weight bench next to you. And the fun that comes from squaring off against the computer or even a friend (whether he’s in the room with you or connected to the game via the Internet) is going to be far greater than heading down to a damp basement and doing curls by yourself. Furthermore, for people who live far from a health club, interactive video games offer a practical solution for days when getting to the gym just isn’t gonna happen.
With all that said, there’s no substitute for pumping iron if you really want to get in shape. You’re not going to be held accountable by an avatar. Leaving the house to work out will bring you into contact with others who can encourage and inspire you to reach your fitness goals. And once you establish a routine, the endorphins you experience from all of that exercise will make you want to work out even more.
So yes, eventually, you’ll need to go to the gym if you want to get fit. But if the video game is going to help you get there, you have my vote. (And, I hope, your girlfriend’s too!) -- As told to Thomas Farley
John Basedow is the creator of the best-selling “Fitness Made Simple” video series, the author of Fitness Made Simple: The Power to Change Your Body, The Power to Change Your Life, a frequent guest on FOX News Channel, a regular on the popular SiriusXM Radio’s “The Covino & Rich Show,” and the star of the YouTube Web series “John Basedow TV.”