If you are like me, you spend way too much time at a desk working on spreadsheets. Or writing code, meeting with customers, responding to email, etc., and no where near enough time getting some exercise. EA Sports has a great game that integrates my love of tech with my need to get in shape. The answer: an exercise video game. I asked for the Wii version for Christmas so I could get some use from that Wii that my daughter almost never plays with. I’ve been very happy with the results so far.
Here’s how EA explains their game:
EA SPORTS Active 2 is a new suite of digital fitness programs available on multiple gaming consoles focusing on improving muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, while providing an intense cardio workout. Featuring the Total Body Tracking wireless control system that combines a heart rate monitor and motion tracking technology, EA SPORTS Active 2 provides an effective workout that delivers accurate, measurable results. Additionally, users will now be able to track and share their workout stats, including heart rate on the new EA SPORTS Active 2 online** hub (www.easportsactive.com).
Couldn’t have said it better myself! The game leverages a heart rate monitor (no chest strap!) and motion detection sensors, a bluetooth receiver that plugs into your Wii and the standard Wii remote. A resistance band is also included and is used in some of the exercises to increase the effect. The actual exercise routines are developed by trainers and provide a good balance of cardio, stretching, warm up and warm down, and variety to keep things interesting. No cheesy mii’s here; there is an onscreen trainer who demos each exercise and teaches you how to perform them correctly. The sensors can usually tell pretty well if you’ve followed instructions and only advances you when you’ve done them right.
Professionally Developed Program
EA Sports has worked with professional trainers to develop the routines to use. The first workout session that I did focused on simulated basketball and mountain biking, as well as some running. My second workout included soccer exercises in addition to running to keep it fresh. Here is what EA has to say about how the program has been validated:
A recent study conducted by the University of Victoria in British Columbia concludes that EA SPORTS Active 2 workouts meet recommended exercise guidelines for exercise intensity and caloric expenditure put forth by public health guidelines, including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the leading authority on exercise science in North America.Putting EA SPORTS Active 2 to the Test
EA SPORTS commissioned a study of the EA SPORTS Active 2 Mountain Gravity pre-set workout to determine the efficacy of its product line. The study tested 15 physically active adults between the ages of 23 and 33 to determine the relative exercise intensity and caloric expenditure of EA SPORTS Active 2. Results of the workout met both the ACSM guidelines for effective physical fitness, which recommend that individuals exercise at an intensity between 64 per cent and 94 per cent of their maximum heart rate or 40 percent to 85 percent of their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), as well as burn a minimum of 200-300 calories per session, five days per week, in order to maintain proper fitness and to aid in weight control. “The EA SPORTS Active 2 Mountain Gravity pre-set workout met public health guidelines for an effective workout,” says Ryan Rhodes, Professor, University of Victoria, Behavioural Medicine Laboratory. “The results indicated that EA SPORTS Active 2, when used on a regular basis as part of a healthy, active lifestyle, can improve fitness and favorably affect body composition.”
All during your workout, the game shows your heart rate and gives you feedback about how hard you are working. It builds to a peak difficulty and then warms you down with stretches and light cardio to finish up the workout. While you are working out, an estimate of calories burned and time exercising is kept and milestone awards are given. It helps to keep you engaged and motivated.
9 Week Program
EA Active 2 has a great 9 week program that creates workouts over the period and tracks your performance and progress. As new workouts are added, you can download them once you set up an account with EA Sports. Over 70 workouts are available currently and more will be added over time. You schedule the workouts to fit your busy schedule, and since there’s no gym to schlep off to, there are no excuses for missing workouts. (Of course, I’ve still managed to miss a few!).
OK, Jim, Does It Work?
I don’t mind telling you that the workouts are challenging. I signed up for 4 per week at medium intensity levels and am finding that I am pushing it on each workout. This is no game! The workouts are real. My aching muscles are proof! And it’s fun. Ii enjoy working out with this program. I tolerate going to the gym. I’m way more likely to actually follow this program. And getting some use out of that Wii is a side benefit!
How Much Is This Going to Set Me Back?
So when you’re done testing WHS2011, and are looking for something new to do with that Wii, give Active 2 a shot! Available for Wii, XBOX and PS3.
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