Going to the gym doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, with the right workout game, you can stay fit and have fun, all at the same time.

Coming up, we’ll talk about some of our favorite exercise games for adults, complete with all the information you need to get started.

Why Use Fitness Games?

If you’re wondering why you’d choose to play a fitness game instead of just pumping iron at the gym, well, the answer’s quite simple: because it’s fun! Nowadays, we spend too much of our lives stressed out about work, worrying about social media, or the neverending list of chores around the house.

Why not have some fun when we’re in the gym? While many people dread their daily workout, playing fitness games can be an enjoyable way to exercise, socialize, and let loose, all at the same time.

Turning your workout into a game can have some incredible benefits for your health. Historically, researchers only looked at the benefits of play for children, but the importance of fun and games for adults is quickly becoming a hot topic in the scientific community.

In his TED talk, Boston College Professor of Psychology Peter Gray noted that play could have the following benefits for adults:

  • Reduced Stress. Having fun can produce endorphins, which help calm the body. Endorphins are our “feel good” chemicals, which reduce our stress levels.
  • Improved Productivity. Playing games can make us more productive because they stimulate our minds.
  • Increased Brain Function. If games involve solving puzzles, they can help improve our memory and overall brain function.
  • Better Relationships. When we work and laugh with others, we start to develop friendships. This can result in increased empathy and trust. New friendships can be hard to come by as a busy adult, so having fun with your workout buddies can make a big difference.

If that wasn’t enough, fitness games combine all these great benefits with a fantastic workout. So, there’s no reason not to try them out.

The 5 Best Gym Workout Games

Here are some of our favorite (and fun!) fitness games that you can use during your next workout:

Cups

  • Number of People: 2+
  • Necessary Equipment: Cones or plastic cups, at least 3 per person
  • Benefits: Interval cardio, lower body calisthenics

Cups is a fun game that can be played by groups of any size. To get started, you’ll divide everyone into two teams: one of “tippers” and one of “stackers.”

Set the game up by placing all the cups or cones around a wide-open area, like a yard, floor, or driveway. Then, set a timer for a short period of time – just one or two minutes.

When the game starts, the “stackers” will try to stack up as many cups as they can. Meanwhile, the “tippers” will try to knock them over.

Whichever team has more cups in their position when the time is up wins. You can repeat this game a few times with a break for some light interval training.

Plank Races

  • Number of People: 4+
  • Necessary Equipment: None
  • Benefits: Core strengthening

Plank Races is like a core workout version of “Last Man Sprints,” where you jog as a group in a single file line, and the last person in the line has to sprint to the front. The concept with Plank Races is quite similar, but instead of jogging, you’re holding a plank.

To play, you’ll split everyone up into two groups. Create start and finish lines that are at least 50 feet (15m) apart, but you’ll want to increase the distance if you have a lot of participants.

Then, each team will line up in the direction of the finish line. Each person will be in the plank position with their head no more than 1ft (0.3m) behind the feet of the person in front of them (except the first person).

Once the game starts, the person at the back of the line will stand up and sprint to the front. As soon as they get to the front, they will get back in the plank position. This process repeats itself until the first team crosses the finish line.

Obstacle Course

  • Number of People: 2+
  • Necessary Equipment: Chairs, tables, benches, balls, etc.
  • Benefits: High-intensity cardio, calisthenics

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned obstacle course? To set up an obstacle course, you just need a lot of space and some random household objects.

Chairs, tables, benches, and the like make for great obstacles for people to climb around. Simply set up a course that provides a good mix of running, crawling, climbing, jumping, and other basic calisthenics for a whole body workout.

Then, you can have people compete in the obstacle course one at a time or in a group. To make it more challenging, you can have participants wear weight vests.

Another variation to add even more fun: give people a water balloon to carry in their hands throughout the course. This provides an additional challenge and is an excellent way to cool off during the summer months if the balloon pops!

Plank Musical Chairs

  • Number of People: 3+
  • Necessary Equipment: Yoga Mats
  • Benefits: Moderate cardio, core strengthening

Plank musical chairs is a new twist on a classic game that’s perfect for a bit of group fun. To play, you’ll need a group of people and enough yoga mats for everyone involved, minus two. So, if you have 10 total people, you’ll need 8 mats.

Then, designate one person to be the DJ in charge of the music. You’ll set up the yoga mats in a circle and place them 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9m) apart from each other.

Once the music starts, everyone will jog around the circle. As soon as the music stops, they have to rush to grab a mat and get into the plank position.

Whoever is left without a mat when the music stops is out. Remove one mat for each round, so there are never enough mats for everyone. The game continues until only one person is left planking.

Red Light, Green Light 123

  • Number of People: 4+
  • Necessary Equipment: None
  • Benefits: High-Intensity cardio

Okay, okay, this may be a kid’s game, but it’s still a fun way to involve a large group in a bit of exercise. To play, you simply need to designate a start and a finish line that are at least 50 feet (15m) apart.

Then, nominate one person to be the “crossing guard.” This person will stand at the finish line facing away from the group while everyone else stands at the starting line.

Whenever they’re ready, the crossing guard will say “Red light, green light 123” and then turn around. While the crossing guard is talking, the rest of the group has to run toward the finish line. But, as soon as the crossing guard stops talking, everyone needs to stop exactly where they are.

The crossing guard will then identify anyone that’s still moving. If you’re caught moving when you’re not supposed to, you’re sent back to the starting line.

The game continues until one person finally crosses the finish line. You can mix things up for a bit of fun if you want to play multiple times. Instead of running, the participants can crab walk, frog jump, broad jump, lunge, or use any other form of forward motion to get to the finish line.