The 7 Best Workout Games for the Nintendo Wii

No console contradicts the image of gamers as slack-jawed, thumb-twiddling couch potatoes as well as the Wii. From Wii Sports, the very first Wii game, players have been asked to stand up and move. If you want a real workout, one that leaves you out of breath with a racing heart and sore muscles, here are the games that will get you in shape.

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Punchout!! leaves you sweating. Nintendo

Workout: 5/5
Fun: 4/5

Punching the air doesn’t sound like hard work, but do it fast enough while ducking and weaving on your balance board and you will be dripping sweat in no time. When I say Punch-Out!! is a great workout game, I mean as long as you play it with the Wii remote and nunchuk in your hands and the balance board under your feet. Without the balance board it’s still pretty energetic but less of a full body workout. And if you use the push-button control scheme, only your thumbs will get tired. But played full out, Punch-Out!! is the best mix of fun and exercise you can find for the Wii. (Read review.) More »

Active Life: Outdoor Challenge
Namco Bandai

Workout: 5/5
Fun: 3/5

In terms of working yourself into a state of utter exhaustion, you can’t do better than Active Life: Outdoor Challenge. You run, you jump, you tilt, you pump your arms, and before you know it, you're lying on the floor listening to your heart pump madly in your chest. This collection of energetic mini-games is a bit of a mixed bag in the fun department, but it will sure make you work, and you can play it with a friend. (Read review.) More »

Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3

Workout: 4/5
Fun: 4/5

You can find Dance Dance Revolution games for most consoles, and while the Wii version asks you to also keep beat with your arms, it is overall going to give you the same workout you’ll get on the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. But that’s a really good workout. The footwork is fast and furious and the game is almost as much fun as dancing (unless you don’t like to dance, in which case you’d probably find it more fun than dancing). DDR games have been keeping gamers in shape long before the Wii, but it's still a great fit for such an active console. (Read review.) More »

Wii Fit Plus
Skateboarding via Balance Board. Nintendo

Workout: 3/5
Fun: 4/5

This expanded version of Wii Fit is just okay as an exercise game, proving more effective for improving your balance than your strength, but what makes it so much better than the original is the addition of 12 fun new mini-games that give players a workout that is genuinely fun. You might get more muscles working out at the gym, but you'll have more fun juggling while balanced on a giant ball. (Read review.) More »

EA Sports Active

Workout: 4
Fun: 1

A straight-ahead workout game that eschews the more entertaining aspects of Wii Fit but that also offers a more effective workout routine. A good game for those who want to work every muscle and don't need entertainment while they do so. (Read review.) More »

Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip

Workout: 3.5/5
Fun: 3.5/5

If you use the balance board to play Road Trip, as opposed to just using the remote, you should get a nice workout from all the leaning to one side and the other. The game doesn’t ask you to do anything with your arms, making it less of a full body workout than games I list above, but it does get your body moving. (Read review.) More »

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Skate It
Skate It Mixes Exercise with Frustration. Electronic Arts

Workout: 3.5/5
Fun: 3/5

Skate It is arguably more of a workout than Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip when using the balance board, but only because it’s more difficult to control the game, making players spend a lot of time struggling to pull out of weird circles and sharp turns. Sure, desperately flailing about trying to get your skateboard going in the right direction will work some muscles, but your irritation will keep you from playing it as much as you might other workout games. (Read review.) More »