Major console manufacturers have spent the last few decades exploring how to combine gaming and exercise. From Dance Mats and the EyeToy in the 2000s to Wii consoles and Playstation Move, players have been offered a variety of ways to get a workout while gaming. Recently, gamers can try reaching their fitness goals with Nintendo Switch games like Ring Fit Adventure or even tackling persistent back pain with Fitness Boxing.
However, what do you do when you want to play a traditional game that doesn’t require getting off the sofa? The Japanese internet is full of advice for how to get some exercise in during those long RPG sessions.
One of these unconventional methods involves riding an exercise bike while gaming. Players are encouraged to start slow and gradually increase their peddling time, perhaps when they level up in the game.
A Japanese X/Twitter user has been documenting their experiences with this method, posting details of the game section they played, the time they spent using their exercise bike and the kilocalories burned. Recently they have been playing retro arcade shooter Gradius AC while peddling away. In the past, they have clocked up an impressive 75 minutes of biking per session while playing Metroid Prime Remastered:
This year, the same user states that they were able to go from 97kg to 73.8kg by regularly playing Fitness Boxing Fist of The North Star from July to the end of October 2023- achieving their weight loss goal. From the in-game graph data they shared, it seems the user has been throwing over 90,000 punches a month and burning a monthly average of 30,000 calories.
According to their profile, they have diabetes, breathing difficulties and are also undergoing treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). On November 1st 2023, they reported that they had achieved their weight loss goal, obtaining their ideal BMI. Their dedication to exercising through gaming can hopefully inspire others in similar situations who want to try such methods.
Other recommendations for working out while gaming include doing plank exercises or squats, either during loading times or when you level up. The same site also suggests that sitting on a balance ball while gaming is an effective way to subconsciously exercise your muscles. Gamifying exercise can help people who do not enjoy conventional methods of exercise to maintain their physical health. Furthermore, it can be done without the fear of judgement that can come with exercising in public.