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10 Video and VR games to help you exercise at home

Who says fitness can't be fun?

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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When it's too cold to hikecycle or run, and the current social distancing restrictions make it impossible to go to the gym, Hongkongers are turning to digital games to replace their workout. As you read on, though, you’ll find there’s more than one reason to try any of these games as a workout alternative, whether it’s the stunning simulated environment, or the distraction it provides (both from life and all the exertion), or the dose of weirdness and unpredictability that your workout was missing in the first place. By Kate Lowe

Note: If you do try out a VR game in your apartment — wireless headphones pose the least risk of property damage. Don't say we didn't tell you so!

RECOMMENDED: Also check out some of the best Nintendo Switch games that will get those calories burning. For other ideas of what to do indoors, check out our guide for Time In and dabble in some DIY or grab some board games and friends for a night in. 

10 Video and VR games to help you exercise at home

BoxVR

This vibrant VR game features workout classes ranging from short warmups to endurance workouts, choreographed and led by real instructors. The game’s makers, FitXR, promise that everything from graphics to music is designed to focus and motivate you, and you can even upload your own music on a PC. Just make sure you can clear yourself a wide area at home before you start — you’re not actually in an empty gym.

Platforms: PC, PSVR 
Players: Up to six
Equipment needed: A supported VR headset

Mario Tennis Aces

Being able to visualise yourself as Waluigi might just be the workout motivation you needed. The latest instalment in the Mario Tennis series allows you and your friends to face off in tennis matches as one of 30 Super Mario characters. The intense matches will work up a sweat no matter what game mode you choose, and there are plenty, including adventure (a story mode in which Mario must take on a villainous tennis racket), tournaments, co-op challenges, free play, and swing mode.

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Players: Up to four
Equipment needed: None

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Just Dance 2021

This aerobic crowd-pleaser may seem more like a party game than a workout, but playing it burns roughly 400 calories an hour. This year's 2021 edition features 40 songs by this year’s music heavyweights including Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, and Blackpink. But if songs get old for you quickly, you can make an additional subscription to Just Dance Unlimited, which includes all content from previous games and new exclusive songs too.

Platforms: PS4, PS5,  Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Stadia
Players: Up to six
Equipment needed: Mobile devices with the Just Dance Controller app (if you need extra controllers)

ARMS

Don’t let the zany, colourful game design fool you: the gameplay in ARMS is strategic but rewarding if you put the effort to learn. Box one-on-one or two-on-two using super-powered weapons like an extendable arm, teleportation, or healing. Unsurprisingly, you’ll be getting a pretty focused workout primarily toning up your arms.

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Players: Up to four
Equipment needed: None

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Holofit

If you have an elliptical or rowing machine gathering dust at home, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. Holofit allows you to connect your cardio equipment to their virtual world via Bluetooth so that you can bike through lush rainforest, or even underwater, instead of your living room. It’s compatible with rowing machines including Concept WaterRower, SkillRow, StairMasterHIIT Rower, and Domyos, and with an indoor bike or wheel-based elliptical that is FTMS Bluetooth-enabled or fitted with a third-party cadence sensor. 

Platforms: Oculus Quest, HTC Vive Focus, and PC-VR.
Players: Up to five
Equipment needed: A supported VR headset and an indoor bike, elliptical machine, or rowing machine

American Ninja Warrior: Challenge

While performing well won’t get you to the Las Vegas Strip, American Ninja Warrior: Challenge stays true to the TV series by incorporating elements from the real obstacle course like the Salmon Ladder, Warped Wall, Log Grip, and more, as well as commentary from the TV hosts. Aside from customising your Ninja, you can even create your own obstacle courses to run, all with an animated crowd cheering you on.

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
Players: Up to four
Equipment needed: None

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Supernatural

This 2020 game borrows from fan favourite Beat Saber by challenging players to strike incoming objects, but makes it fitness-focused by forcing you to lunge, squat, and spin and scoring you based on both power and accuracy—no shortcuts. It’s no wonder that this movement-heavy game is only compatible with the wireless Oculus Quest. The photorealistic visuals, ranging from an Ethiopian volcano to Icelandic glaciers, are a highlight of this game, making it perfect for a little escapism.

Platforms: Oculus Quest
Players: One
Equipment needed: The Oculus Quest headset

Jump Rope Challenge

No flashy characters or upgrades in this game: the free-of-charge workout keeps you focused with a series of jumping challenges centred around a cute, animated bunny. All you need to do is set your daily goals and get hopping.

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Players: One
Equipment needed: None

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Blade and Sorcery

A truly immersive VR game doesn’t just have realistic graphics but a compelling story and world. If you’re looking for an experience that keeps you engrossed while you exercise, Blade and Sorcery’s medieval fantasy world offers you maximum physical freedom in how you interact with your environment and fight your enemies and keeps the physical world feeling real with features like weight simulation and full body tracking. 

Platforms: PC, PSVR
Players: One
Equipment needed: A supported VR headset

Ring Fit Adventure

If you’re looking to battle bodybuilding dragons alongside your workout, look no further than Ring Fit Adventure. Get around by jogging, paddle-boarding up virtual waterfalls, or magical squats, and refill your health by performing yoga poses. With over 100 levels to beat in 20 different worlds, this adventure game will keep your mind engaged. Plus the exercises, which feature the Ring-Con resistance band and Leg Strap, are no joke.

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Players: One 
Equipment needed: Ring-Con and Leg Strap

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