The Nintendo Switch Review: Is it Good for Getting Fit?

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 Nintendo Switch can be Taken Anywhere

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.

Nintendo Switch Exergaming Works with No Motion Controls

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.

Some games that come to mind are the newly released Octopath Traveler and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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.

Nintendo Switch Exergaming is AMAZING with Motion Controls

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!

You’ll need a lot of energy in order to get through ARMS!

-Mario Tennis Aces-

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.

-Splatoon 2-

Now this game is a little unique. Think of it as paintball meets humanized squids. Now if that seems strange, I don’t blame you. The concept may seem out there, but the game play is ridiculously fun.

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.

Nintendo Switch Lacks ACTUAL Fitness Titles

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.

Nintendo Switch Cannot Replace Traditional Exercise

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.

Should I get a Nintendo Switch for Exergaming?

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)!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this content, subscribe to our email list for more tips, hints, and tricks on taking your fitness game to the next level!






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  • kmv (#)
    July 30th, 2018

    The Nintendo Switch looks like an interesting option for the home office crowd (me). I find that I am sitting way too often and need to get up stretch and move around.

    The Switch could be just the ticket! I could set an alarm for every hour. Get up out of my chair and play arms for 5-10 minutes and then return to work.

    As you mentioned, I’m not going to get a six pack from this, but it does get me moving when I normally would be stuck in my chair.

    I’m going to have to think about this! Thanks.

    • Denver (#)
      July 31st, 2018

      The Nintendo Switch (and Nintendo Wii) are great for getting up and moving around. Helps fight against a sedentary lifestyle in a fun way. I definitely suggest trying it out; my switch works well for keeping me active when I’m not active exercising.

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad to help!

  • David (#)
    August 1st, 2018

    Thank you for such an amazing review post. I have been going backwards and forwards when deciding to get a switch. I personally wouldn’t use it for the fitness side, however, my girlfriend would. From what I have read its a machine that may also suit younger gamers like my son. Do you know whether there will be any fitness titles coming out anytime soon?

    • Denver (#)
      August 3rd, 2018

      As far as I’m aware, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t seem to be getting fitness-specific titles anytime soon. Nintendo themselves seem to be moving away from fitness gaming in general, which is a bit of a shame. That said, the Switch is great for all ages of gamers regardless. 

      It’s great for breaking up long stretches of being sedentary though, due to the motion control nature of the console. A good supplement to standard exercising.

      Thank you for your comment!

  • delroaustria (#)
    August 3rd, 2018

    The Switch is a pretty great gaming device, and I’m sure Nintendo would benefit should it release fitness titles like it did for the Wii.

    But yes, regular exercise is still the best. Although the Switch can still make you build up a good sweat from all that physical movement, especially with the games you detailed in the article.

    • Denver (#)
      August 3rd, 2018

      I’m glad to to see that others share similar thoughts on the Switch. I love my Switch and personally can’t get enough of it, though I do wish that it was more fitness oriented like the Wii was. Ah well, can’t have it all!

      Thanks for your comment!

  • asmithxu (#)
    August 5th, 2018

    Hey Denver,

    Thanks for the great review of the Nintendo Switch for exergaming. This actually seems like a great solution for me because I like to use exercise during my breaks mainly for movement and stress relief. This seems like it would be a truly great way to get my head out of my work and turn off my thoughts. I have seen people playing Arms on youtube for fun so if I were to give any of the games a try, it would be that one. Thanks again!

    • Denver (#)
      August 6th, 2018

      No problem! I’m happy to help anyone interested in exergaming!

      Gaming in general is a great way to relax and get your mind off of things. I personally get myself lost in Dance Dance Revolution; that’s my favorite exergame!

      Thank you for your comment!

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