If you like gaming even a bit, you’ve no doubt heard about the Nintendo Switch at this point.
It’s a PORTABLE video game console, which makes it the first of its kind. Sure, there are handhelds like the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Portable, but those pale in comparison to what the Nintendo Switch can do.
Many people have reviewed this console before, but no one has really talked about its potential for exergaming. One of its predecessors, the Nintendo Wii, was highly focused on exergames and using motion control to get the most out of exergaming, leading to successful weight loss.Let’s dig into some points and see if the Nintendo Switch can do exergaming just as well, if not better!
The most important feature of the Nintendo Switch is that it can be taken anywhere. The console is powered by an internal battery that can be charged at home.
The battery will typically last anywhere between 2.5-6 hours on a full charge; this depends on the game, as more graphically demanding games tend to consume power faster.
From my experience, you can expect to get about 4 hours on average of playtime on a full charge. I find this to be more than enough time for me personally, but this length of time can be extended with a rechargeable battery power bank.
The console itself it’s rectangular and fits two handheld controllers on its sides. These controllers, called Joy-Cons, are small enough to be held and operated in each hand. These also have their own battery power, lasting 15-20 hours per full charge.
The Nintendo Switch has a built-in stand so that it can be propped up on any level surface.
When played in portable mode (which just means it’s not played on the TV), the console itself has a screen that will show game play.
You can also plug headphones into an audio port located on the Nintendo Switch.
All of these features allow the Nintendo Switch to be useful for exercising in locations outside of your home.
This is particularly useful for those who do cardio at the gym, such as with cycling machines, elliptical machines, or treadmills.
While the Nintendo Switch enables you to use motion controls with a lot of your games, it’s not necessary for a lot of them. As such, you can play games while doing these workouts, especially if they don’t move your upper body much.
You’ll need access to your hands in order to play these games, so keep that in mind.
Luckily, it’s easy to dock the Joy-Cons when your hands are needed, whether it’s to wipe off sweat or grab something. They can then be easily picked up again.
With the right games, the Nintendo Switch can spice up exercising a lot!
RPG and racing games are some of the best kinds of games for non-motion control exergaming; they are fun, mentally engaging (so you don’t focus on the discomfort of exercise), and addictive in all the right ways.
It’s easy to lost track of time while gaming. You’ll be finished with your workout before you know it…instead of painfully looking at a clock tick every second.
Motion control gaming as come as long way, with Nintendo being on the forefront of it all. Their standards of excellence continue with Nintendo Switch’s motion controls.
The Joy-Cons are accurate and responsive, which makes them feel great when used for motion control play.
The Nintendo Switch itself tracks the motion of the Joy-Cons almost scarily well, and the console gives you options on increasing or lowering the sensitivity of the tracking.
You are able to customize exactly what you want the Joy-Cons to do so that you can get the game play that feels right to YOU.
Unlike the Nintendo Wii, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t really have a library of fitness games that take advantage of motion controls. Instead, the Nintendo Switch cleverly implements fitness workouts into their main games. Here’s some examples:
ARMS is a colorfully animated boxing game that’s easy to pick up and hard to master. The game is very fun for both casual and hardcore audiences as its brimming with personality and classic Nintendo wackiness.
In terms of exercise, this game is all about throwing punches and weaving to dodge the opponents.
It’s a game that quickly becomes a workout with motion controls enabled, as it demands actual punches to be thrown for them to be registered in the game (so no cheating)!
With a variety of modes, online play, and rankings to keep track of, you can easily find yourself playing this game for hours on end; your own arms will certainly be feeling the burn as you are also getting your cardio!
This game, as you might have guessed, is all about Mario and friends hitting the tennis court to play in exhilarating sports matches. The characters are fun and unique, each offering different stats and abilities that you can take advantage of.
This is another game that is easy to pick up and hard to master, though the game will teach you how to play through multiple tutorials.
The game will even teach you actual tennis techniques, though these techniques can only really be perfected on an actual tennis court with actual tennis gear.
But the focus is on its ability to provide a good workout. And boy does it do THAT well! With motion controls, you’ll be able to feel each and every swing of the controller as you play the game.
While this may not seem hard at first, your arm muscles will definitely start to feel it as time goes on.
I find that Mario Tennis Aces isn’t quite as cardio intensive as ARMS is, making it a good game for those who are looking to get started in exergaming.
The game is mainly revolved around using weapons to “ink” the ground (known as turf). The team of 4 inks the most turf wins. Of course, you can use your weapons to take down any opponents who stand in your way. Just make sure you aren’t taken down yourself!
This game is simple on the surface, but can be a smidgen difficult for those who have never played any sort of shooting game before.
You are given a brief tutorial as you start the game, and then you are allowed to immediately play online or play through the story mode. That’s about the gist of it!
Exergaming with Splatoon 2 is simple. The game allows you to use motion controls to aim your weapon, and you can set it up where you are holding the Joy-Cons in front of you to aim.
You will then be aiming and holding your arms up for either 3 or 5 minutes, depending on the mode.
This is by far the easiest form of exergaming, since your arms are needed to make any drastic movements. There is also no cardio exercise from this game, instead mainly focusing your upper body.
If ARMS and Mario Tennis Aces are too tiring, or if cardio isn’t a big factor for you, Splatoon 2 is great to jump into.
So all in all, the Nintendo Switch is pretty good for injecting some fun exercise. It’s portability combined with its entertaining selection of games makes it a real treat to have on the go or at home.
However, there are a few things that should be noted before exergaming with it.
One thing that the Nintendo Wii has over the Nintendo Switch is its large library of actual fitness games. These games are designed and tailored specifically for weight loss, which makes them useful for reaching those fitness goals.
Nintendo Switch games at the moment won’t track your fitness like Nintendo Wii fitness games did.
Due to the large success of these fitness games on the Nintendo Wii, I’m not sure why they haven’t come back for the Nintendo Switch. Maybe they just haven’t felt the need to make another since the Nintendo Wii had so many.
But speculation aside, this is something to note if you wanted to get fitness games specifically.
As much as I would love to use my Nintendo Switch to get all the exercise I could need, that simply isn’t the case. It’s still very, very necessary to do normal workouts; the Nintendo Switch cannot provide adequate exercise for all parts of the body, nor is it meant to.
Using the Nintendo Switch as an exergaming device is supposed to supplement a workout, not replace it. It’s a fantastic enhancement, but an enhancement nonetheless.
If you choose to use a video game console to get all the exercise you want, then you should probably use the older Nintendo Wii console. I still wouldn’t recommend this though.
Still interested? Check out the Wii+bundle here.
*Note: The Wii requires a TV that has rgb cable ports (most TVs nowadays just have hdmi ports). If you don’t have that, then you need a rgb to hdmi/vga converter.
Honestly, it depends on your fitness goals and how you plan to use the Nintendo Switch. If you want to play a fun game while going on a brisk incline walk on a treadmill, then the Nintendo Switch is perfect for you.
Want to do some exciting upper body workouts by throwing punches or shooting ink? You’ll probably need wrist/ankle weights in order to maximize the workout, but the Nintendo Switch can work just as well for that too!If you are looking get a six-pack and become a fitness guru by hitting an in-game tennis ball, then the Nintendo Switch would probably disappoint you.
You would most likely be more interested in VR exercise, as that isn’t nearly as restrictive in what you can do. It’s almost like having real life become a game (which is good for us, by the way)!
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