Fitness Articles

Workout Game Reviews

The Best Dance, Workout and Active Video Games

Workout and fun ratings out of 5 stars; 5 is highest.

MTV's Dance Central
Whether you're in calorie-counting mode or throwing down in an old-school dance battle, this new dance workout can replace karaoke bars and boring cardio workouts. A Kinect motion sensor (sold separately) lets you ditch hand-held controllers and rock out to Lady Gaga, Rihanna or any one of 90 dance tracks. The game senses your tempo so it slows down if you miss a beat. Works with Kinect for Xbox 360. ($49.99

Workout rating: *****
Fun rating: *****

Zumba Fitness
Just like Zumba classes at the gym, this is an intense workout disguised as a Latin dance party. Choose from 30 Zumba routines and nine dance styles, including salsa, hip-hop and flamenco. Sensors monitor your movement, allowing the game to go from basic personal training to a full-on dance party as you improve. Works with Kinect for Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Move. ($39.99-$49.99,

Workout rating: *****
Fun rating: *****

EA Sports Active 2
EA Sports Active 2 lets you choose from more than 70 exercises and games, including everything from classic workout routines with a personal trainer to basketball drills on a virtual court. Wireless motion-tracking straps around your arms and legs ensure you're using proper form, and a heart-rate monitor tracks how hard you're working on screen. It's a great training tool, but it's not quite as fun as dance workout games. Works with Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Playstation3, iPhone and iPod Touch. ($99.95,

Workout rating: *****
Fun rating: ***

Dance Dance Revolution
DDR is an intense total-body workout that takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it's simple to follow along as you step-step-step to pop stars like Lady Gaga. You can even record your own music video to share with your friends via YouTube! DDR has proven to be such an effective weight-loss tool that it's now part of Virginia public school's fitness curriculum. Works with Playstation3 ($69.99 includes mat,

Workout rating: *****
Fun rating: ****

Gold's Gym Dance Workout
It may not be the best party game, but slower-paced dance routines make this a great choice for beginners. In addition to working on your dance moves, mini-games like karate, rowing and sword fighting help strengthen specific muscle groups. The game stores your exercise history, including play time and calories burned so you can easily track your progress. Plus, it comes with a 7-day trial membership to Gold's Gym. Works with Nintendo Wii. ($29.99,

Workout rating: *****
Fun rating: ***

Your Shape Fitness Evolved
Your Shape makes learning exercises (calisthenics and weight training) and yoga poses easy. A Kinect game console scans your body—bones, muscles and clothes—so you actually become the avatar. If you're out of alignment, the on-screen scan turns red to help fix your form. That's more personal attention than you'll get from a crowded gym class. Fitness is clearly this game's top priority, which is why it just gets an average fun rating. Works with Kinect for Xbox 360. ($49.99,

Workout rating: ***** Fun rating: ***

Dance Masters
Beginners beware: Dance Masters' choreography is harder than most other dance workouts. Choose "lesson mode" for a private training session and then work your way up to Dance Master. Post-song analyses complete with graphs assess your accuracy and help you improve. Snap a photo during the game to show your friends what you did all afternoon. Works with Kinect for Xbox 360. ($49.99,

Workout rating: ****
Fun rating: ***

Just Dance 2
Just Dance was originally known as the first dance workout to feature real dance moves instead of just exercises to a beat. The new version's "just sweat" mode counts how many calories you're burning to focus more on fitness. Compared to game consoles like Kinect that don't require hand-held controllers Just Dance 2 feels a little low-tech and less entertaining. Works with Nintendo Wii. ($39.99,

Workout rating: ***
Fun rating: ***

10-Minute Solution
10-Minute Solution for Nintendo Wii is an easy and affordable way to burn belly fat. It lacks the bells and whistles of most high-tech video games, but the selection of 10-minute cardio and strength-training workout routines are great for a busy schedule, and health and fitness tips during training sessions keep you entertained. Use it with a Wii Balance Board to up the intensity. ($19.99,

Workout rating: ***
Fun rating: ***

Rock Band 3
The newest Rock Band isn't exactly a fitness game, but you'll burn some calories if you play long and hard enough. Up to six players can slap the drums, pound the keys and belt out any of 83 hit songs, including classics like Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n' Roll" and Huey Lewis and the News "The Power of Love." ($29.99-$59.99,

Workout rating: **
Fun rating: *****

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Member Comments

  • My favorite not mentioned is the Biggest Loser game. When I was on my journey the first time it was my main tool and I lost 30lbs.
    - 4/16/2013 10:56:04 PM
  • One of my fav is Wii Walk it Out. You walk to the beat of songs and can choose the spead of the songs you walk to, but best of all there is no time limit and you keep walking between songs. - 4/16/2013 12:04:52 PM
  • I have the zumba game. I was very disappointed when i realized i can sit on the couch and swing the controller around to get better scores. I still play it and do my best to match the movements of the instructor to work up a sweet. - 4/16/2013 8:29:01 AM
  • All WAY WAY WAY too expensive - PLUS they need VERY COSTLY equipment to use them. Good for people with lots of money, I guess. I'll never see any of them. - 7/6/2012 2:33:12 AM
  • Interesting article. I've always wondered if any of those fitness games are really exercise but it sounds like quite a few are just as good as any fitness video. I'll have to give some of the dance-based ones a try (I love to dance!) - 6/10/2012 2:35:32 PM
  • I have the Zumba fitness, Just Dance 2 and The Biggest Loser workout for the wii. They are all a great workout. I sweat and have fun. Zumba and Just Dance 2 are entertaining for me , because I get to dance and have fun while working out. The Biggest Loser for wii is a great workout and it will kick your butt. The challenges are great. :0) - 5/14/2012 7:59:13 PM
  • I get a nice work out from doing Michael Jackson's Dance game on the Wii. I can do several dances over and over trying to get a better score and end up dancing for over an hour working up a great sweat! Many of the dances have 1-2 back up dancers as well.

    rumbamel - 5/26/2011 10:25:12 AM
  • Just Dance 2's "Just Sweat" offers a great workout that you can customize to the type of music and dance you like most. With the calories burned info it's easy to plug the info to Fitness Tracker. Great fun that I can do to burn calories and "learn" to dance the way my daughter does. - 5/20/2011 8:30:46 PM
  • I am in love with Dance Central - but I apparently haven't explored the game very thoroughly because I didn't even realize that it did calorie counting as well! SWEEEET!! - 5/13/2011 11:32:44 PM
  • I love ZUMBA. Lots of free clips on YouTube. - 5/4/2011 11:32:53 PM
  • I like Dance Central, because it (somehow) is able to tally up how many calories I've burned. During the little free style segments of each song, I fit in some jumping jacks or tire runs and watch the calorie counter sip away! I've got some favorite songs, but then try to mix it up with new songs each time. I only wish they had more additional songs to down load. I've been doing about 30 minutes of dancing before I get in a little free weight work from the bikini workout plan-- it's a really great alternative when it's rainy out and I can't get in a run. Plus, I get in everything while my toddler naps. Perfect! - 5/3/2011 2:21:54 PM
    I have EA Sports Active 2 and I use it on a regular basis. I love it! It's a gret workout and the various activities keeps me interested and makes the time go by fast. I find the "rewards" also keep me motivated so I'm constantly challenging myself.

    I also have the Zumba's fun, but very challenging! It's traditional in zumba classes to NOT give verbal cues, so it can be difficult to learn to moves. But once you get the hang of it, it can be an amazing (and FUN) workout.

    I've used Dance Central, though I don't have a Kinect, and it is a good workout but I actually get bored with it faster than the Zumba or Sports Active. But that's just my personal preferences. - 5/3/2011 1:58:02 PM
  • I like DDR, although I haven't used it in over a year. Figuring out how to use the workout mode (or whatever it's called) was a big help! I've also used EA Active, and although it was okay, I didn't love it. I felt like they needed more explanation of the various sports routines, and how I could make my own workouts. (I did use the fitness challenge, but once that was done, thought "what now?")

    I've taken a Zumba class during an inter-session freebie week at my Y. The instructor never explained a single thing - she assumed everyone knew what to do, so I've never signed up for a class. Maybe I should get a DVD or Wii Game to learn the steps and then try the class again... - 5/3/2011 12:52:41 PM
    I know this is gonna sound stupid, but if I stand up and dance around a bit, really belt out the lyrics, sing star is a good workout for me! Get me hot, sweaty and pumped at least! - 5/3/2011 5:00:40 AM

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