"Wii Fit Plus" is a follow-up to the top-selling Nintendo workout game and by far the best fitness game for the Wii. Like its predecessor, the game uses a scale-like controller, dubbed the Wii Balance Board, to weigh you and calculate your body mass index. Players can customize their routines, allowing them to focus on working out specific parts of their bodies. Wii Fit includes more than 40 types of training activities designed to appeal to anyone from casual gamers to hardcore fitness buffs. The "Plus" version has several new features, including new strength-training exercises, yoga activities and more balance mini-games.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360)
This is one title that might literally leave you breathless, but for all the right reasons. "Your Shape: Fitness Evolved" talks and walks you through precise movements to improve your cardio and work out your muscles. Using the Kinect, the Xbox's answer to Nintendo's Wii, the game measures your body size and structure. You then use a hand-motion menu to enter your age, weight and exercise habits so the game won't overexert you. Within minutes you'll be following along with the Tai chi and yoga moves of an on-screen instructor, who leads you through the movements and at the end of each routine gives you a score for your performance based on how well you stay in rhythm and mimic her deep knee bends. This is by far the most impressive fitness game for the Xbox 360.
EA Sports Active 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)
EA Sports Active 2 is not your typical video game exercise routine. Equipped with three sensors that connect wirelessly to your console of choice, expect to undergo an exhausting 9-week exercise program. There are numerous exercises in numerous categories - from cardio to upper body. You can create custom workouts out of these exercises to suit your needs. The arm sensor also serves as a heart rate monitor, which - says EA - tracks how well your hate rate recovers following exercises. For those looking for a real workout, you can't go wrong with EA Sports Active 2.
Credit: EA Sports
Dance Central (Xbox 360)
With "Dance Central," players mimic the on-screen character's dance moves for high scores while jumping and gyrating to songs from top artists like Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue. You can master the moves individually and then launch into a dance battle to string them together to the music. A circle beneath the on-screen feet glows green when you hit the moves correctly and glows red when you muff them. The game tracks your calories during your routines and has settings for different intensities. This is a top-shelf dancing title and is essential for Xbox Kinect users whether you intend to use it for your workout or not.
The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout / Challenge (Xbox 360, Wii)
Based on the hit NBC reality show, these two games feature trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper, who provide interactive workouts and nutrition goals. The games feature more than 125 exercises that will help you lose weight and get in shape. The Xbox 360 version, developed exclusively for the Kinect motion controller, includes several unique features, such as video diaries and online workout friends. Though these games lack a sense of polish, they are a serious workout tool for players looking to get fit. No mini games or fun, casual challenges here.
Kinect Sports (Xbox 360)
Kinect Sports is a collection of six sport games (bowling, boxing, track and field, table tennis, football and volleyball) that not only serves as a great way to get in shape using Microsoft's new motion controller, but is also accessible and fun for the whole family. There's not nearly as much fun to be had here solo as there is playing with friends, but provided you have plenty of space in front of your TV, and you're OK with working up a sweat while playing, you're sure to have a good time. What makes this game different from other motion controlled sports games, like Wii Sports or PS3's Sports Champion, is that your entire body is a controller. That's means you can't simply sit on the couch and successfully play this game. It constantly makes you move, and - though it may not be as intense as other fitness games - it is a fun way to burn calories and get off the couch.
The EA Sports Active franchise has carved out a successful fitness-focused niche on the Wii. While previous games have been about general fitness, EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp boasts a more specific theme - football - and you choose what team you want to train you. Like EA Active 2, one of the major differences in this iteration of the EA Sports Active franchise is the total-body tracking system. Ditching the nunchuk and its cord, this system uses the remote in conjunction with two new sensors: one on your thigh, the other on your arm. The workouts in NFL Training Camp are similar to what you might find NFL players doing - running and sprinting in place, kicking field goals, and throwing footballs. There are also strength-training exercises that use the included resistance band. A gruff-voiced "trainer" provides words of encouragement. If you're looking to improve your 40-yard-dash time, this may be the game for you.
Zumba Fitness is a dance workout game featuring nine different dance styles, including salsa, hip-hop, and mambo. Nearly 1 million Americans have taken the popular studio classes, following the moves of 3,500 instructors, according to Zumba's official website. If you are a huge Zumba enthusiast and already own all the workout DVDs, this will be a great new way to experience your favorite routines. But for new users, the game lacks any form of instruction for beginners while playing the game. Players will find themselves at times confused on what moves to do next, especially if you are not familiar with the fitness classes. But that doesn't mean the game doesn't work: you will break a sweat and burn calories.
Sports Champion (PS3)
Described as "the ultimate sports challenge" on the box, Sports Champion is a modest but varied collection of sports games that puts the PlayStation Move motion controller to good use. Almost none of the games (disc golf, beach volleyball, archery, table tennis, bocce, and gladiator duel) are obvious choices for inclusion in a collection that boasts only six different sports, but they're all fun, and while most are best enjoyed with friends, there's a good amount of single-player content as well. Like Nintendo's Wii Sports, Sports Champions is a game that isn't focused specifically on fitness, but the mini games are a fun way to raise your heart rate and get you off the couch.