Working from home has a lot of benefits. You miss out on a busy commute to your workplace or school, you no longer have to shell out good money on a sub-par pre-packaged meal on your lunch break and, maybe best of all, the time that would be spent these mundane activities is suddenly time saved that you can spend doing what you really want to. Perhaps the only downside to working from home our already sedentary lives are becoming even more so, with even more of our day now being consumed by sitting at a desk in front of a PC.
That’s why we have compiled a little list of titles which will help keep you moving whilst staying at home. Just a disclaimer, I’m obviously no health professional and the games on this list are of course not a real substitute for a solid workout at the gym or park but I still feel they could nevertheless very beneficial to your wellbeing; provided they’re used in conjunction with other forms of regular exercise of course!
3. Jump Rope Challenge
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Kicking off our list is Jump Rope Challenge which was recently released for free onto the Nintendo eShop. Players hold a Joy-Con in each hand and utilise the gyro controls to simulate jumping with a skipping rope whilst an onscreen bunny avatar mimics their actions. Every jump you make causes a pleasingly tactile controller vibration and increases the on-screen number counting up your jumps. You can set up daily goals with a range from one hundred to nine hundred jumps, which may not sound like much but you’d be surprised what nine hundred jumps in a short period of time can do to your calves!
You are incentivised to come back every day by a calendar screen which fills in each day with your time and number of jumps. This also serves a nice way to track your progress on your jumping journey. As a nice little bonus for pushing your limits, reaching the daily cap of one thousand jumps unlocks a special background image and accompanying set of whacky sound effects. There’s even an included multiplayer mode – provided you have enough joy-con’s to share around of course.
It sounds very basic and that’s because it is. For free however you can’t complain and if you’re particularly budget conscious, Jump Rope Challenge is an excellent way to get you and your family moving every day. Just make sure you remember to wear your Joy-Con straps or you might end up having to shell out for a TV repair!
If you want a little more variety in your daily exercise, or perhaps don’t own a Nintendo Switch, then read on…
2. Just Dance 2019
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, Wii U, Wii mini, Wii, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
Price*: ≈£15-£25 depending on platform, free demo available
Just Dance 2019 may seem a curious choice for this list, especially in light of the release of the more modern Just Dance 2020, but the incredible volume of platforms on which the game is available, both ancient and brand new, make this game miles ahead of the other titles on this list in terms of sheer accessibility.
In Just Dance 2019, players select a song from the included song list and then wildly flail their limbs in an attempt to mimic the on-screen dances as closely as possible. Whilst it’s a little slow at first, most songs gradually pick up the pace and by the end of a session you will have likely worked up quite a sweat. With a solid scoring system, which comes the ability to compare your totals to an online leader-board, and the tantalising prospect of unlocking more songs and goodies, it’s shocking just how addictive, and enjoyable, Just Dance can become.
There is a good variety in the forty songs included in the track-list which features popular mainstream artists like Britney Spears, Ariana Grande and Pharrell Williams, some international titles from Hatsune Miku and Blackpink and even the Pac-Man theme! If the included titles are not to your liking, there is also a subscription service which unlocks an additional four hundred songs through ‘Just Dance Unlimited‘. As a little bonus, a copy of the game comes with a one month free trial of this service.
The ‘Just Dance Controller’ app is a fantastically handy feature, removing the need to splash out on additional controllers if you want to get your friends or family dancing alongside you in the up to 6 person local multiplayer. Players can also try the game out before buying through the free demo, available on all platforms, which is restricted to a single song.
However, if you’re looking for something a bit less fun-oriented and more oriented towards serious exercise, then check out the item below…
1. Wii fit
Platform(s): Wii mini, Wii
Price*: ≈£40 second hand (including balance board)
Wii Fit is one of the best selling Wii titles and one of the best selling console games of all time – and for good reason! Using the included Wii Balance Board, players can undertake a variety of fitness activities accompanied by a virtual personal trainer. You can receive serious virtual lessons which coach you in yoga and building up core strength or partake in the more light-hearted mini-game activities which have you jogging around a virtual island paradise or shaking your hips around for a virtual hula-hoop.
The in-built body mass index (BMI) calculator is a fantastic tool and a good way to track your fitness as well as monitor the positive effects of your various digital workouts. It’s lesser-known successor Wii Fit Plus, also for the Wii and Wii Mini, adds a great many more minigames and exercises alongside a host of useful tools such as a calorie counter, the ability to create custom fitness regimes and even a few elements made to help you assess the fitness of your pets!
Lesser known still is the games sequel Wii Fit U, which is available on the Wii U. The Wii Balance Board returns accompanied by a gamepad stand and pedometer. This version of the title adds even more features and tools, even carrying over your progress and biometric data from the original Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus.
Just beware however, as any version of Wii Fit requires both a working Balance Board and Wii Remote, tracking down a fully functional version now almost thirteen years after its initial release could become quite a gruelling task.
*Prices are obtained from a range of sources and were accurate on the date of writing.