12/21/2011 03:32 pm ET

Video Games And Exercise: Can Gaming On The Wii Or Xbox Replace Traditional Workouts?

Are you getting a new Wii or Xbox Kinect for the holidays? Many proud new gaming console owners will be happy to hear that playing movement-based video games may have some unexpected benefits -- like helping you reach your fitness goals in the new year. Recent research is suggesting that playing physical video games that simulate sports may have many of the same benefits as traditional exercise.

Recent research conducted at Michigan State University looked at 16 different studies to determine whether video games could provide the same cardiovascular benefits as more traditional forms of physical exercise. They found that gaming consoles like the Xbox Kinect, Nintendo Wii and Playstation Move do help get gamers moving, but they aren't as effective as more strenuous workouts in terms of overall fitness.

So, while playing video games that require a bit of movement beats a night of couch-surfing, more vigorous activity (which may require you to go outside the house!) is the best way for you to get fit and healthy!