Fun and Fitness: Which Video Game Provides the Best Workout?

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Updated on Feb 06, 2012

Grade Level: Middle School/High School; Type: Other


Determine which video game elevates the heart rate best and burns the most calories.

Research Questions:

  • Which video game elevates the heart rate highest and burns the most calories?
  • How does the number of calories burned using a video game workout compare to the number burned with traditional methods of exercise?

Video gaming systems have developed a variety of “games” designed to provide participants with a good workout. Are these games effective at burning calories, and how do they compare to traditional methods of exercise like running? Test these games by using a device that will measure heart rate and calories burned while participants workout.


  • Nintendo Wii
  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Sony PlayStation 3
  • Xbox Kinect
  • Select several workout video games to test
  • Wireless calorimeter/heart rate monitor
  • Notebook for recording results

Experimental Procedure

  1. Select several workout games that can be used with the Wii, Xbox, and/or PlayStation 3.
  2. Ask a test subject to perform a different workout every day. Ask the test subject to do a more conventional workout (like jogging) on one of the days. Use a calorimeter/heart rate monitor to track calories burned and heart rate while exercising.
  3. Repeat test for several different subjects.
  4. Evaluate your data.

Sample table for recording data:

# of Minutes

Average Heart Rate

Calories Burned

Test Subject 1

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3


Test Subject 2

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3


Terms/Concepts: Health benefits of exercise; How are calories burned?; What types of exercise burn the most calories?

References: “How Exercise Works.” “Calories Burned During Exercise.”

Megan Doyle is a scientist, researcher, and writer based in Dallas, Texas. She received her Ph.D. after completing years of work in a laboratory and now focuses on writing about recent advances in the field of oncology. Always passionate about learning, Megan enjoys keeping up to date on breakthroughs in all fields of science.