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The skinny on fitness video games

6:04 AM, May 18, 2013   |    comments
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(ABC NEWS) -- Playing video games used to be a pretty sedentary pastime, but motion gaming changed all that. Now there are games specifically designed to actually help you get in shape.

Consumer Reports takes a look to see if they can help you go from couch potato to looking your best at the beach.

There are lots of video games on the market that are advertised as a fun way to get fit.

Consumer Reports checked out five: Nike Plus Kinect Training, Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013, Just Dance 4, U-F-C Trainer and Zumba Core. They cost anywhere from 20 to 50 dollars.

Tester Matt Ferretti assessed the workout the games provide, using a monitor to measure his heart rate.

"All the games aren't equally effective. Some of them are a lot more strenuous than others and provide a real fitness challenge, whereas some of them are more just party games and really don't provide a great workout," said Matt Ferretti, Consumer Reports.

Nike Plus Kinect Training and Your Shape will give you tougher workouts, while Just Dance 4 is less, well, grueling.

The gaming console you use can also make a difference in how much of a workout you get.

"The Xbox is going to be the most effective for these types of games, because using the Kinect, the camera can actually track your full body's movements, whereas with the Wii U or the Playstation 3, it can only see the controller, not your full body. So it's easier to kind of cheat the system, and it's not tracking your body as accurately," said Ferretti.

If you're looking for a game that can give you a tough workout, try Nike Plus Kinect Training. For a good cardio workout that also provides some fun, Consumer Reports recommends Zumba Core. The quick dance steps get your heart rate up and keep it interesting.

Zumba Core is available for Xbox Kinect, which does the best job of making sure you get a good workout. But if you have a Wii U or Sony Playstation, it's available for those, too. Just make sure you don't game the system, or you might as well stay on the couch and play Mario Brothers.

ABC News

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