Videogames have long since moved past worries about inactivity and sedentary behaviour – while it’s true that many games will suck players into playing for hours at a time without much benefit to their physical wellbeing, the relaxation and enjoyment they offer is almost peerless.
That said, there are still a range of games on the market that could scratch both itches, giving you fun gameplay and systems to interact with, while also getting your pulse pounding and helping you to keep active. Right now, given how many of us are spending large amounts of time at home, that could be the perfect combination.
So, to that end, we’ve gathered together some of the very best active videogames for you, so that you can get a burst of exercise without leaving your home, all with the help of your games console.
Our pick of the best exercise games to buy or try today
Ring Fit Adventure
Nintendo’s latest fitness game, after the success of Wii Fit so many years ago, is an absolute sensation. It’s flown off the shelves, making it really difficult to find at the moment, but if you can spot it in stock anywhere it’s the perfect fitness title for the stay-at-home age.
With the aid of flexible Ring-con controller and a leg strap, you’ll squat, stretch and flex your way through workouts masquerading as a quasi-RPG, and have a great time doing it. It’s beautifully designed and will help you get a bit fitter while monitoring your progress and encouraging you along the way.
Just Dance 2020
Another staple on the active gaming scene is the Just Dance series, which is available on the Switch, Xbox One and PS4. It’s a full-body rhythm action game, challenging you to dance along to a soundtrack full of popping tracks, matching your movements to the directions on-screen.
It’s a colourful, glorious bit of fun, and while it doesn’t have to be massively exerting if you play it concertedly and make sure to keep up the regularity of your sessions, it can be a great way of staying active without necessarily feeling like you’re flogging yourself with workouts.
Another great game for the Switch, Fitness Boxing takes maximum advantage of the Joy-Con controllers to let you take virtual boxing lessons and punch your way to getting fit.
It’s more explicitly about fitness than some of the others on this list, which brings with it a different tone and a bit more potential intensity to make sure that even if you get properly in shape it’ll still offer up solid workouts. It might not have the lustre of more mainstream efforts, but it’s still a great option.
Moving into the world of VR, Beat Saber is a really fun VR game that’s pretty taxing when you get up to speed. It’s another rhythm game that sees you slashing through blocks in the direction they indicate with your controllers.
The higher the beat rate of a song, though, the more block’s you’ll have to break, and as you move up the difficulty gears you’ll certainly be able to work up a proper sweat.
A second VR game rounds out our list, in the form of BoxVR, which is more explicitly about exercising than Beat Saber. It’s a boxing trainer in the form of a VR game, and much more realistic than Fitness Boxing, above.
That said, while it’s a really immersive way to get to grips with some punching techniques and be active, we’re not completely sold on the idea of strapping on a VR headset (whether that’s PSVR or a PC version) to get nice and sweaty in. It’s more than a little counterintuitive, but if you’re okay with that, this is a premium offering that won’t disappoint.