The coronavirus epidemic has forced many of us indoors. Local gyms and council parks remain closed, and some of you might now be working from home. If you’re worried about maintaining fitness while living in isolation, the good news is that video games can help. From Ring Fit Adventure to rhythm game Beat Saber, there are plenty of games that can help you maintain fitness while you’re stuck at home.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
You don’t need the latest console or a beefy home PC to get fit while gaming — there’s plenty of options around for consoles of every generation. Here are a few of our favourites.
Just Dance (Wii, Wii U, PS4, PS4, X360, XBO, Switch, PC, iOS, Android)
Just Dance is one of the most accessible fitness titles on the market and is available for nearly every console, computer and mobile device. Just Dance releases annually, so there’s plenty of different titles to choose from, with some of the earlier games selling cheap as chips.
If you’ve never played Just Dance before, the concept is simple: you just dance. In-game icons perform moves for you to mirror, from simple toe-tapping numbers to frenetic beats. By the end of each dance, you’ll have had a good, heart-pumping workout.
Just Dance is great fun, and a solid alternative to going to the gym.
Beat Saber (PSVR, PCVR)
Beat Saber features a similar concept to Just Dance in that you’ll be using pop beats to work up your heart rate. In this VR-exclusive title, players are in control of two ‘light sabers’ (not to be confused with Star Wars‘ lightsabers) that they use to smash through oncoming blocks that fit the rhythm of the game’s songs.
Blocks fly at you from up high and down low, so you’ll need your wits (and good reaction time) to get through this frenetic game.
You can check out all the pulse-pounding action below:
While Beat Saber looks like more of a stationary game, it gives you a solid workout for your upper body, particularly your arms.
Ring Fit Adventure (Switch)
If you don’t already own a copy of Ring Fit Adventure, you may be out of luck here as the game is sold out nearly everywhere. But if you’re one of the lucky few to already own the game, Ring Fit Adventure is a fantastic workout companion.
In fact, the game seems almost design for situations like this. Ring Fit Adventure is an entire game about staying fit where players take on a variety of work-out based levels. To defeat enemies players must squat, lunge and high-knee their way to victory, with jogging being a primary movement mechanic.
One level of Ring Fit is sure to have you huffing and puffing, but the best part is there’s an engaging little story around your fitness adventure, and you’ll want to keep going for as long as physically possible.
Make sure to pace yourself — you don’t need to go as fast as these speedrunners did. Because the levels are broken up into smaller quests, you can take on the best workout for you.
Fitness Boxing (Switch)
Fitness Boxing for Switch has flown largely under the radar, but it’s great for a workout and is more accessible than Ring Fit. In it, players take on a kind of rhythm game where, rather than dancing, they’re tasked with hitting blocks to a beat.
It’s fast-paced and difficult to master, but it certainly gets the blood flowing and should be great for your upper body strength.
Fitness Boxing doesn’t have a whole lot of content, but if you’re looking at improving your arm strength and reaction times, it’ll certainly keep you on your toes.
Wii Fit (Wii, Wii U)
It might just be time to dust off your balance board, because the Wii Fit games can be a great help during this trying time. While both Wii Fit and Wii Fit U are more focused on balance and relaxation than a long, sweat-heavy workout, they’ll still keep you active and moving.
Even something as simple as working on your balance can you relax, getting your fitness goals back on track at the same time.
Both games have a variety of low to high-intensity mini-games to run through, so you can work on any strengths you desire. If you don’t already own the console or games, you can usually pick up a Wii for under $50 and the game will run you about $5 at your local game shop. It’s a simple solution for a tricky problem.
Arms isn’t strictly a ‘fitness’ game, but you can still get a bloody good workout when you’re fighting a worthy opponent. The game uses similar mechanics to Fitness Boxing in that you use the Switch’s controllers to ‘box’ opponents.
Arms takes place during a fighting tournament where players are tasked with defeating a range of progressively stronger, big-armed enemies. You’ll need to duck and wave to get around enemy defences and strike quickly in their blindspots.
It’s great for being active, and is a severely underrated game to boot.
If you’re self-isolating because of the coronavirus, do not leave your house. But if you’re not ill and still stuck at home, there’s nothing wrong with a quick walk around your local neighbourhood to catch a rascally Pokémon or two.
Pokémon Go‘s simple mechanics make walking fun and it’s a great way to keep your brain occupied if you’re easily bored with simple exercise.
If you’re heading out on an adventure over the next few weeks, make sure to heed any advisements from your local council and health authorities. For now, going for a walk with Pokémon Go is a great and rewarding way to stay active and healthy.
Rec Room (PCVR, PSVR, PC, PS4)
Feel like playing basketball, a game of table tennis, mini golf or just hang out? You can do it in Rec Room. The game is basically a social space for people to make rooms playing whatever they like. It started with basic table and gym sports, but now includes a whole set of first-person and third-person shooter missions, paintball, better tools for making virtual environments, and more.
Rec Room is free on all platforms, and a patch was added after launch so you can play it on a regular PC. It’s best in VR, however, and that’s also what will give you the most exercise.
What are your plans for staying fit while in isolation? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below!