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'Xbox Fitness' a great alternative to the gym


May 06, 2014

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    With summer rapidly approaching and a demand for that perfect beach body amplified, Xbox One has the perfect app to help chisel your physique. “Xbox Fitness” is a service exclusively found on the Xbox One console and features fitness and exercise videos from popular, top-tier trainers Tracy Anderson, Jillian Michaels, Tony Horton of “P90X” and Shaun T of “Insanity.”
    The game, developed by Microsoft Studios in partnership with Sumo Digital, uses the Kinect 2.0 sensor to track the player’s heart rate, estimate calories burned and give feedback about the player’s form, power and balance. The app itself is free to use; however, players must have an Xbox Live Gold membership to access the videos. The workout routines range from 10 minutes to 60 minutes, and the free service will be available through December 2014 for Xbox Live Gold subscribers.
    This service is probably the best use of the Kinect I’ve seen on Xbox. The app is very easy to navigate, and it’s simple to find workout routines. Players can use the controller, hand gestures or voice commands to navigate through the menus. There is also a fitness profile that compiles the player’s age, weight and sex, which the app uses to track calories burnt and workout progress. Players also have the option to compare their profiles against the Xbox community and friends.
    I chose to do a 40-minute “Insanity” cardio workout and loved the experience. Because I already own the DVDs, I wasn’t new to the exercise and knew what to expect, but I greatly enjoyed the Xbox version of the workout. The added features of the Kinect that showed which muscles I was working the most and offered tips on improving my form trumped the regular, non-interactive DVD version. The Kinect was spot on in measuring my heart rate without an added monitor on my body and even recorded the amount of calories I burnt after the workout. Also, the Kinect picked up all my movements with no problems or lag, an issue with the older version of Kinect on the Xbox 360.
    There weren’t too many negatives I found with “Xbox Fitness.” The most obvious limitation is that you need to have enough room to use this app and have the Kinect set up with enough room to view your body. Also, the app wasn’t very easy to find through the Xbox One dashboard; I only installed it because Microsoft ran a special ad featuring it on the main blade of the dashboard.
    Overall, “Xbox Fitness” was an enjoyable experience that left me sore the next day — which means the exercise was a success, in my opinion. I believe the app is a good way to keep fit and a great alternative to the gym. With the added benefits of keeping up with achievements and the ability to compare your points to friends and the Xbox community, Microsoft Studios has created a complete program that will keep gamers not only entertained but healthy as well.

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