Video games, while fun for a short time, have always seemed to promote a sort of lethargy leading to overeating, weight gain and perhaps even a loss of brain cells. I did not grow up playing video games for hours and while I own a PlayStation 3 we use it mainly for the Blu-ray player.
My husband has been involved with a program called Rehabbing with the Troops which helps wounded veterans get back into shape using a workout video game and a lot of support. I wanted to try it myself but I have to admit I was sort of skeptical as to how difficult the workouts would be considering I’ve tried the Wii Fit and didn’t find it to be particularly challenging. The Wii Fit did not allow for a flow from exercise to exercise and there was no way to calculate how hard you were working.
The program they are using for the veteran’s rehabilitation is the EA Active 2 for PlayStation 3. The game uses three sensors; one for both your arms and one for your leg. One of the arm sensors also contains a heart rate monitor. Included with the sensors and the game is a resistance band.
The workouts are entirely customizable, although you can choose a pre-made workout if you’d prefer. This afternoon, I decided to test the program and see if it would get me to break any kind of a sweat. I must say, I was surprised at the results.
My workout I designed consisted of approximately 50 minutes of workout time. I chose to do a couple warm up exercises like shoulder rotations and knee tucks. I added cardio to the beginning of the workout to get my heart rate up. I chose to do mainly sprints in which you race against the computer avatars in the game. By the end of the cardio, my heart rate was up slightly and I was ready to move on to the main body of the exercises.
I chose to do a lower body and abdominal workout. I would perform moves like alternating jump split lunges, split lunges with high knees and squats. After every lower body set, I would move on to an ab exercise like flutter kicks and reverse crunches. Each set varied in reps, but I had it set to HARD so the reps were about 24 and I did two sets each.
The alternating jump split lunges and the split lunges with high knees were by far the most challenging for me. They are plyometric in the sense that you’re getting off the ground and at the same time strengthening your body. My legs were hurting a little, but my heart rate was in the zone and I was doing some heavy breathing. I chose to finish off with more cardio like mountain climbers and skipping (jump rope). I ended with a few stretches to cool down.
At the end of the workout, my heart rate monitor said I burned 330 calories in those 50 minutes. This isn’t huge calorie burn. Still, it’s a much, much better workout than I was expecting. I’m sure I could make the workout even more difficult if I wanted to burn even more calories. My average heart rate was about 123 according to the monitor, although I peaked at about 170.
Overall, this is a much, much better program than the Wii Fit and offers a wide array of workout options. I wouldn’t necessarily replace any of my current workouts that I do, but I would definitely add this to the mix. It’s always good to have variety and at the end of the day, this is fun and you’ll absolutely break a sweat! This video game is not the kind that will make your butt look big.