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Gaming in pursuit of fitness

UFC Trainer, front cover art.
UFC Trainer, front cover art., THQ, XBox 360, Kinect

One of the concerns given by many parents and health specialists as relates to youth culture is the lack of physical activity in daily life. One unfortunate aspect of this lack of physical activity is similar to that of other trends, which is the fact that lifestyle practices often will carry over into adult life. Video games have also often been cited as one of the main reasons for the lack of physical activity. Whether or not this is an accurate assessment is another discussion for another time, but due to the influx of motion-controlled video game titles that have become available in recent years, the possibility of gaming for fitness is even more of a reality.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has long been gained popularity, and some might say that the decline in popularity of professional boxing can be attributed to the rise of the UFC. It is a sport that few can participate in due to the nature of it. It is not for the faint of heart, nor is it an easy thing to get into. However, one thing that is undeniable is the high level of conditioning, timing and skill that is required of all of the fighters who compete. THQ released UFC Personal Trainer: The ultimate fitness system on Xbox 360 for use with the Kinect. The goal of the game is to allow players to train like UFC fighters, often using workouts that are similar both in structure and style.

At first glance, the game is extremely responsive when navigating through the various menus. There is a quick workout option, a free strike mode, and an activities option that includes speed bag, heavy bag and the tire flip. When playing through the exercises the game will track calories burned, along with other statistics. One thing that is helpful was the audible urging from either the narrator or the UFC fighter who serves as the player’s training partner/coach. Their instructions pertain to whether or not the player's movements are too fast or too slow, which impacts final scores. The game has great potential to help players get their heart rate up, and to work on their overall fitness in a way that is more interesting than another slightly, more tedious method. There are more modes to explore, which should offer great opportunity to players seeking to better their physical fitness.


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