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Burn Calories at Home with These 3 Mobile Games

If you’re interested in efficient and effective home workouts there's a chance you’ve explored the mobile market. There are dozens of apps that are designed specifically to help you save money on gym memberships and/or squeeze workouts into limited time at your own home. A lot of them work pretty well. They’re designed for quick bursts to get your heart rate up and help you burn some calories without sapping too much time. And most of them provide exercises that require very little in the way of equipment. The only problem is that most of them are also a sort of boring.

If that’s not a problem for you, then keep at it! It takes discipline to stick to a routine that’s not particularly fun or interesting, and at times this is what it takes to be consistent about exercise. But especially in the early going, you’ll be far more likely to stick to it if there’s a fun or creative element to your workouts, even at home.

I’ve looked to solve this issue not by finding the perfect workout app, but by looking for mobile games that have nothing to do with fitness that I can twist into fun exercise concepts. The trick is to assign exercises to different values or outcomes in a given game, and perform them as you play. Here are three examples that can be really effective for quick, intense home workouts.


This is one of the better ways I’ve found to randomize a home cardio routine, gaming or otherwise. You don’t even strictly need one app or the other, as there are several variations of Scrabble available in mobile stores (most of them either free or very cheap). The idea is simple. Set up a sprinting distance in your driveway, load up a game, and get moving. You can play against a live opponent in real time or against a CPU, and the game doesn’t change: you run a sprint for each point your competition scores. Sometimes that might mean just a few quick back-and-forth sprints, and sometimes it might mean a prolonged set that will leave you huffing and puffing. This kind of variety is generally good for maximizing your workout time—just make sure you don’t set the distance so far that you’re in over your head on a 28-point word!

Batman Slots 

Truth be told, you could pick just about any slot machine game for the type of workout I’m proposing. But I find it’s more enjoyable with a game that has a more recognizable theme, and NextGen has revamped its DC gaming lineup, with the result that the Batman app is pretty cool. At any rate the idea here is to list the different icons that exist on the slot reel—in this case, things like Batman, the Joker, a Joker card, and Harvey Dent—and assign a totally different exercise to each one. I do 10 push-ups for Batman, 10 sit-ups for the Joker, and 10 mountain-climbers for Harvey, to start. The slot reel turns up five symbols on each spin, which means you’re doing five quick exercises each time. You can also up the ante by throwing in a special exercise (maybe 200 jumps with a jump rope) for any kind of jackpot you land.

Flick Kick Football

This is probably the simplest home workout I’ve figured out using mobile games, but it might also be my favorite. That’s just because the game itself is the most fun. Flick Kick Football is a little soccer game where you swipe your finger to try to score free kicks. There are several different game modes, but you score as many as you can in a row before running out of “lives” (meaning misses). My take on it is to just do 10 jumping jacks for every five goals scored. It goes very quickly, and it winds up being a lot more of a workout than it sounds like. And if you really want to challenge yourself, you can also throw in a sort of punishment for running out of lives and having to start over (like a round 100 jumping jacks, or something different like squat thrusts).

None of these games are natural for home exercise, but they can definitely vary your routine and make it more fun. It’s always good to have as many ways as possible to burn calories at home, even if it’s just a quick work out a few times a day, or whenever you can squeeze it in.


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