Dance Dance Revolution Your Way to Fitness--For Real!

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/15/2008 6:00 AM   :  97 comments

I am sure many of you have been initiated into the Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) or Nintendo Wii Fit craze that has swept through the country over the past several years. If you haven’t been exposed to these games then just ask your kids or grandkids. More than likely they have had some contact with these games at a friend’s house or maybe even at their school. In fact this past year the West Virginia school system has integrated DDR into their physical education curriculum to help kids get fit.

While my household may be one of the few in the world that does not own a PS2, PS3, X-Box or any other home video game system as part of their electronic cache, that does not mean I am unfamiliar with all the hype that surrounds these units.

For those unfamiliar with the DDR, you basically stand on a mat while moving or dancing in the rhythm and direction of the arrows or instructions that appear on the TV screen. If you are rhythmically challenged like me, this can become quite an endeavor. It definitely looks much easier to do than it is, but it is a lot of fun.

With the popularity of these games (just ask anyone in search of the Nintendo Wii only a few short months ago) researchers are beginning to study the effects these video games have on people’s fitness and if the benefits help offset the current rate of obesity.

Research is confirming that video games, such as DDR and Wii Fit, can revolutionize our fitness by getting us off the couch and moving. Many fitness experts believe this new approach to making exercise fun is one way to work in activity. After all something is better than nothing. According to a study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse Health and Exercise Program, the results concluded that “caloric expenditure data of 24 volunteers, researchers determined that it is comparable to many other aerobic activities and could result in significant weight loss if used regularly.”

These same researchers conducted a second study on the benefits of the Wii Fit Sports series, including baseball, bowling, boxing, golf, and tennis. The data supports that these games do show caloric expenditure, but by no means should they take the place of the actual participation in these sports.

If you are curious as to which Wii Fit Sports game garnered the highest caloric expenditure for the study participants--that would be boxing. And compared to all the other sports, boxing was the only activity tested which the researchers “considered intense enough to maintain or improve cardio-respiratory endurance as defined by accepted industry standards.”

And if you think you have heard it all, Norway has declared DDR an official sport! So now there is no excuse to keep your kids from dancing to their favorite tunes while having fun with friends and family.

Do you own either of these video games? Do you feel you get a good workout? What is your favorite game?


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Comments

  • 97
    I am with you Nancy...I don't own any of those systems but would love a WFit and I would definately purchase the boxing game. My son is 20 and he needs to realize that he still must exercise in some form even though he's a small guy. He can eat anything and not gain also. Well, I['ve seen these games in action and for those children that do not exrecise I believe these games are great, but they still need to get outside and participate in some type of fun activity that burns calories. That was my mistake when I was growing up. I didn't go outside and run around with the other kids. I hid inside eating and playing "jacks" or "school" which burns little calories. So someone needs to invent something to send the kids out of the inside. Thanks. - 5/20/2010   8:18:04 PM
  • 96
    I play DDR on my Xbox and have a fantastic time. It allows me to make a profile and keeps track of how many calories I burn each session. Its fantastic! Although I don't do it every day I do pull it out on those days I am looking for something different and there is nothing else to do. I usually burn about 300-400 calories an hour, because I am not all that good. But its fun and great to do with friends at a party! Get your party/family moving! - 2/17/2010   9:27:51 PM
  • 95
    Another amazing benefit of DDR is that it also improves your balance--especially when you play at higher levels. Having to stand on one foot and maneuver the other all over the mat can do wonders for your balance almost like no other balance activity. DDR is a fun party activity to play instead of getting drunk and playing poker on a Saturday night (not that I do either of those things)! - 2/17/2010   12:51:49 PM
  • 94
    I received Wii Active for Christmas and am really enjoying it. You can create your own exercise packages at different skill levels. - 2/14/2010   8:48:08 AM
  • 93
    Now, this makes me want to do this. My son has a Wi and we bowled with him once and it was a lot of fun. I think this is something I would do if I had one. But what is the difference between DDR and WIFIT? Help someone. How do I know what to get? - 2/13/2010   9:34:32 AM
  • JDROGSETH
    92
    My husband and I love our DDR. We compete against each other to see who can get the highest score. We had some friends over one weekend, and we had a dance off! IT is so much fun =) - 1/15/2010   10:52:15 AM
  • CHICKFORCHRIST
    91
    I actually own the Dance Praise. It is a Christian version of DDR. I love it. My daughter was given it for Christmas by her dad and I and we have dance offs. - 7/22/2009   7:21:21 PM
  • TRISHAJANELLE
    90
    I completely forgot about DDR! I own probably 4 versions over two systems. I need to break out my mat again and my 2 year old will love it also. - 7/17/2009   4:48:01 PM
  • LOTTOGLORIA
    89
    I work for a condo association, i took my wi to work and sent out a news letter to invite everyone. to come join me. At first 3 people showed up, word travel fast. we now have 15 groups schedule thru out the week.the age group ranges fom 60 to 98 - 6/14/2009   5:13:51 PM
  • 88
    I don't own either game, but have spent a lot of time playing DDR...I love the game, it's a great workout with good music, and when I can manage it will probably buy it for too many hours of entertainment :-) - 4/29/2009   12:06:02 AM
  • SHMIZA84
    87
    I enjoy playing DDR, and it definitely presents a challenging workout, and I would totally agree that boxing is a great work-out! - 4/28/2009   11:25:15 PM
  • 1337KITTEHKAT
    86
    I think I have to go with DDR being one of the greatest fun cardio workouts ever. You can play it with your friends for fun competition, you can play in Work Out mode and track calories burned. I get addicted to it and always try to beat my scores. Compared to the Wii? Everyone I've met swears by it, but I am still not convinced. I tried the boxing and tennis- it was pretty much a. pathetic to watch me attempt hand-eye coordination b. did NOT get me moving anywhere near what DDR or regular exercise does c. did NOT make me sweat, even though I tried for a good half-hour on more than one occasion and d. for cost-effectiveness, since DDR has so many games for the old X-Box or PS2, people can buy them used and spend half the cash and garner twice the games.
    So my vote goes to DDR on older systems. - 4/16/2009   2:42:07 PM
  • 85
    I have an 11-year old niece who has always been slightly chubby. Her mother is diabetic. She got one of these systems for Christmas and now, finally, she is getting off the couch. I'm hoping to see a difference in her size at my next visit. These systems could make a difference in fighting childhood obesity. - 4/10/2009   10:44:06 AM
  • 84
    I can't speak for the Wii Fit, but I will swear by DDR. I dropped two pants sizes within the first month or so of playing it. It's hard work, especially the later difficulties, but it really gets your heart going. I don't even think of it as exercise.
    A neat thing about it is that in the later games, it keeps track of how many kcal you've lost, which is excellent for anyone who's actively trying to lose weight. - 2/3/2009   11:40:33 AM
  • IWBTBJUNE
    83
    I have a Wii Fit and DDR. I love them both. Try boxing on the Wii, that will make you use up calories. I find it is easier to exercise for a hour on the Wii then to walk on the tread mill. - 12/21/2008   9:45:24 PM
  • 82
    Researchers - well whoever they were didn't give the WII much of a test then. We have the WII Fit, Sports and Carnival games and anyone who has spent more than 19 minutes on it will understand that they need to keep water and a towel around. The jogging, sports and personal work out trainer works for those who want to break a sweat. So as far as the following statement taken from the article... I think they need to test it for more than 10 minutes... try a full hour or more and leave time for a good rest afterwards. "And compared to all the other sports, boxing was the only activity tested which the researchers “considered intense enough to maintain or improve cardio-respiratory endurance as defined by accepted industry standards.” - 12/20/2008   10:31:18 AM
  • 81
    I am a firm believer in the power of DDR to promote health and weight loss. I hate exercising... I mean, I HATE it! Dull, dull, dull... and a dullness that leaves you out of breath at that.

    But DDR -- now that's fun! Thanks to DDR (along with a sensibly re-worked diet), I lost nearly 30 pounds in 2007. Then, I must admit, I lapsed for quite a while. But when I noticed I was starting to gain weight again, I got back on the DDR bandwagon, and lost 11 lbs. in 7 weeks. Until recently, I played mostly in the intermediate mode, but I've built up enough muscle and stamina that I can now handle some of the relatively less-intense routines in the top/expert mode... and on a good day, if I focus and work hard, I can burn 200+ calories in about 20 minutes.

    Here's to a healthier me, with many, many thanks to DDR!!!!

    - 12/16/2008   4:19:58 PM
  • 80
    I really needed your entry. It is just right for me due to my thinking about getting a Wii for myself to use. Thanks for proding me on. Now I can exercise regardless of how MotherNature decides it will be outside! - 12/15/2008   10:15:43 AM
  • TRUTALLICA
    79
    Do you own either of these video games?
    I have Wii Fit and Wii Sports as well as Playstation's Eyetoy Kinetic.

    Do you feel you get a good workout?
    More so with Kinetic when I was using it because you have to put a lot of oomph into it for it to pick up half the time.

    What is your favorite game?
    Wii Fit, just because I like beating my previous scores. - 11/21/2008   5:55:16 AM
  • 78
    I tried the Wii baseball game once....did not go well. - 11/20/2008   9:23:52 PM
  • 77
    I love my WII Fit because it is a different way of working out. While I still go to the gym sometimes it is just fun to get on my WII and not really feel like I'm working out but I work up a great sweat. - 11/19/2008   9:50:12 PM
  • 76
    I absolutely love my Wii simply because it gets me to do stuff. And besides the balance games, I think they really do give you a good work out. It's not super intense, but it's good. The hula hoop is a good work out if you try to do it fast. All of it can be worked hard or worked light depending on how hard you actually try. - 11/19/2008   8:51:08 PM
  • 75
    I have to admit that I never really exercise other than walking, playing with my very active 3 year old (and her friends) and playing Wii-Fit -- and with these methods, I have managed to lose 40lbs while still hitting my calorie goals.

    I enjoy the free-step game and the balance games, and I swear that the balance board has helped me to appreciate how to do Yoga better -- I now am aware of my center of balance. My 3 year old enjoys a few of the games (namely the jogging one!) My 22yo brother had gotten the Wii-Fit when it first came out, and after playing his I knew it was a must-have! - 11/19/2008   5:19:46 PM
  • 74
    OK - now i gotta see what kind of systems my son has, and get DDR ASAP!! i LOVE playing DDR in the arcades, but how great it would be to play at home...thanks for the info! - 11/19/2008   2:45:56 PM
  • 73
    Hi everyone

    I really want a wii bc I have heard so many good things about it but I cant afford it right now.

    I was wondering w the ddr do you use a mat w it? Which ddr is the best bc I see different ones.

    Thanks - 11/19/2008   2:31:17 PM
  • MIEZEKATZE
    72
    I love DDR! I play it every now and then, mostly because I live on the second floor and my neighbors downstairs would complain. I'm not really a huge fan of the Wii because I don't feel like it keeps my heart rate up, but DDR definitely gives you a great workout. - 11/19/2008   11:13:53 AM
  • 71
    "Do you own either of these video games?"
    I have both DDR and Wii Fit. I enjoy them both. Wii Fit has been great for helping me track fluctuations in my weight. I'm getting an idea of which days are my weaker days in regard to food by looking at the graphs as I'm doing a pretty good job with consistency in working out. DDR is a blast and can definitely be a challenge. I've got a buddy that I will often DDR with and by the end of that we are both worn out. I'd say I feel just as worn out by an hour of DDRin' as I do by 10 miles on the elliptical.

    "Do you feel you get a good workout?"
    Provided I push myself, yes. A workout is only as good as what I put into it.
    I really enjoy the Wii Fit because the balance board helps me figure out if I'm actually balancing my weight properly in the stretches - which is pretty awesome!

    "What is your favorite game?"
    Wii Fit is the one I use the most - so I suppose that is my current favorite.

    As an owner of a Wii (since the day it came out), a PS2, and an XBOX360 - I would have to say that my favorite system is the Nintendo Wii. It has a lot of fun games that involve activity that you can get the whole family into (even my 4 year old brother had fun on it). Plus, it's the only system you can get Wii Fit and DDR on.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents. - 11/18/2008   11:03:19 PM
  • CHRISFIT1
    70
    I've seen grandkids and cousins bowling and boxing with wii, and I enjoyed watching them but was never tempted to get one for myself. But dancing? That just might get me to put this on my Christmas wish list!
    Christine - 11/18/2008   10:30:48 PM
  • 69
    I am a HUGE! fan of DDR! I think it is a great accessory to a workout; I've burned over 100 calories in about 15-20 minutes on there (but I've been playing for a while *smiles*) I usually play for 20 minutes to get my heart rate before hitting the gym.
    I've been looking into getting a Wii; could anyone give me more information on whether it is worth my money? - 11/18/2008   10:25:14 PM
  • 68
    I bought the DDR for my hubby a couple of years ago and it was a fun way to get some exercise. However that was before we had a child. Now we're too tired by the end of the day to use it much. We are thinking about getting a Wii and the Wii Fit board. I would like to try the yoga. I used to be very flexible and fit. If I could get some if it back I would be very happy. - 11/18/2008   8:18:12 PM
  • 67
    I've been wanting to buy a Wii fit. I am not into video games, but my husband likes them and the Wii is fun! - 11/18/2008   10:59:34 AM
  • 66
    While booking in a female inmate in the county jail where I work, I noticed this slim figure standing in front of me, but her weight in the computer said 200-something, so I asked her about it. She said for at least 8 months she'd used the DDR with her friends for several hours a day & that's how she lost all her weight. It was absolutely amazing, & I was quite impressed.
    I don't have a game system, but ordered a cheaper (& less fun, I'm sure) mat that plugs into the TV. Haven't used it much, since I ordered the one for two people & I don't really have a second person to play with; however, when my kids/spouse/boyfriend are here, I'll dig it out & play with them. Either we'll have a ball, or they'll decide I REALLY need a game system & buy me one! :-) - 11/17/2008   10:37:08 PM
  • 65
    My cousin was the first in our family to get DDR. He convinced us to get one too, when he informed us that he lost 30 lbs just by playing it consistently. I really like it and it is definitely a good workout. I can't wait 'till the wii is less expensive, so I can get one! - 11/17/2008   9:21:39 PM
  • 64
    I like to use the Wii Fit Advanced Stepper as warm up before running. 20 minutes (about 80 calories on my Heart Rate Monitor) just enough for a little sweat and I am good to go! :-) - 11/17/2008   8:10:20 PM
  • STRAWBERRY*MOON
    63
    I don't have children, and I don't like a lot of expensive gadgets around. I'm a bit of a Luddite. Still, I do try to keep up, but I don't want to buy things I don't need.

    Sometimes I'll see a new product and get excited, then remind myself it's easier to buy the latest thing than exercise with what I've already invested in. If I get excited about something, I "cool" off for a week or so to see if I really do need or just want it.

    I have a step with DVD and I do Turbo Jammer--I enjoy them. Right now they're enough for me. If I every get truly bored, I may try something new. At this point I'm trying to pare down and not have a lot of stuff. But to each her or his own. It would be a pretty boring world if we were all alike. - 11/17/2008   6:14:44 PM
  • 62
    Unfortunately, I cannot touch my Wii Fit until after Christmas. The Wii is one of the gifts that I got for my boys this year, so I am stuck until then! lol - 11/17/2008   4:51:35 PM
  • 61
    I have a ddr game for playstation that uses your own music cds and creates dances to it, I have used it in months but after reading this, I am going to dig it out of my spare room and start using it again! It is great exercise and sooo much fun. My game also has a fitness mode to monitor time and calories expended. - 11/17/2008   3:36:07 PM
  • 60
    OK I created my Mii on the Wii and I have to fight my 3 boys to get on the silly thing - I gave up and joined the gym!!! =0) Actually I do want the DDR I think it looks like fun and like good exercise!! - 11/17/2008   2:02:55 PM
  • 59
    I love my DDR!! We did not have a game system when our kids were growing up, so they were all indignant when my husband bought me a PS2 and two DDR mats for my birthday a couple of years ago. It is by far my favorite inside exercise!!! It is fun and if you use a high enough level can really get the heart rate up!!! Oh, and I am 52 and don't feel too old for it! I can beat the youth group girls from my church! They love to come to my house to play. - 11/17/2008   1:21:58 PM
  • 58
    My two methods of getting the cardio in during the week are water aerobics and DDR. The DDR can definitely sustain a high heart rate for quite some time while holding my attention. It is GREAT!!! - 11/17/2008   9:33:38 AM
  • 57
    I have Wii, Wii Fit, Jillian Michaels ultimatum, and DDR SuperNova 2 for PS2. Wii Fit was fun when I got it. It's a little boring now and not too much of a workout but better than nothing. Jillian Michaels is ridiculously confusing/bugged. The games decide when they want to work or not work. You can stand there and your character will move, or you can move and she'll stand still. A waste of $40.

    DDR is soooooo great! I never get bored with it and always work up a sweat. DDX is next on my list, and if anyone wants to contribute, a metal dance pad.

    Also, SP, I think DDR and Wii Fit-type activiites should be added into the exercise tracker. - 11/17/2008   8:53:06 AM
  • 56
    We have a Wii, and I'll vouch that while it definitely isn't a substitute for running or Spinning, Wii sports is lots of fun! :) And it's not just sitting on the couch, so it is *something*! Wii fit looks fun, but I've got to stop amassing stuff like that - I always default back to the stuff that doesn't require setting up or getting out gear! - 11/17/2008   8:05:09 AM
  • 55
    I agree, this is how I started loosing weight several years ago. It was something that I could do with my son and still get excercise. Now, he isn't as quite into it but I still turn it on once in a while when I want to mix up my excercise routine in the morning. It does take coordination and I don't know all of the songs but it does have a workout mode that I use and helps count the calories that are burned. - 11/17/2008   5:51:53 AM
  • 54
    I don't own one YET but would love to have one. I'm thinking about getting my son the Wii for Christmas so I can use it! - 11/17/2008   1:26:04 AM
  • 53
    We also have the dance mat ... but instead of the original DDR, we have DancePraise ... same thing as DDR, but all of the music is by Christian artists. For Christmas we are picking up the VeggieTales expansion pack so the kids have the fun songs they love. - 11/17/2008   12:04:23 AM
  • 52
    I burn 400 calories an hour playing DDR at home on the difficult level or higher. Love it! - 11/16/2008   8:17:31 PM
  • 51
    I have the Wii Fit and I love it! Probably not good for a High Energizer Fitness Person. But it gets a person off the couch and moving and it is FUN ! ! ! - 11/16/2008   5:21:58 PM
  • 50
    I say ANYTHING that gets a person UP and MOVING is GREAT!!!!
    ANYTHING!!!!!!!
    The naysayers remind me of the folks who said "Goosebumps" and Harry Potter books were bad - if it got kids to READ, it was A-OK in my book!
    Boogie on!
    - 11/16/2008   5:18:22 PM
  • CHARMEDTWOBITS
    49
    I don't use DDR, think i am to old lol. What i do use is a tape on bellydancing. It is so much fun, great for using your lower ab muscles, real low low low impact, good exercise for shoulders, arms, legs and the all over shimmy shake lol
    Hope some of you will give bellydancing a try.
    hugs, CharmedTwoBits - 11/16/2008   5:09:03 PM
  • 48
    And after the creation of multiple-multiple teams for Wii Fit, SP finally says something about it...

    Anyway--in response to some of the responses:

    First, for those that are highly active/fit, then it probably won't do as much for you. However the first goal of video games is to be FUN--exercise is just a bonus. The main purposes of these games is to get a person up and moving around--definitely the "something is better than nothing" mentality. But then, there's a LOT of us that do need to just be doing "something"--ANYTHING, really. (I know I've been lazy lately.)

    Someone mentioned not having "money for both". Well, that's not so much a problem, now. First, get the Wii system, which comes with the Wii Sports game disc that includes tennis, baseball, golf, bowling and boxing. They'll give you a good workout, and like the article stated, boxing works you the hardest. Then work on getting the other games. There's the Wii Fit game that comes with the board. There's also other games that work with the board as well, including "We Ski" and "Jullian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatium 2009" (which does require a bit to figure out from what I hear--the controls are not completely intuitive). Also there are now 2 DDR games out for the Nintendo Wii--"DDR: Hottest Party" and "DDR: Hottest Party 2". Another game that has its own mat is "Active Life Outdoor Challenge". Keep in mind that ALL games that come with a mat or board DO cost more money than some of the others, but once you have a mat/board you can use it with other games that are compatible with that mat/board. So, you could just get the Wii system and have all these types of games. Also, there are other games like "Raymond Raving Rabbits" that really uses your arms, and games like "Mario Kart Wii" that use your arms some (one controller option has you using the Wiimote like a steering wheel) AND is a LOT of fun.

    Now for some links:

    Wii Sports burned calories per game: link> http://www.wiihealthy
    .com/2007/05/23/wii-sports-weight-l
    oss-program/ /link
    >

    Wikipedia page on the Wii Balance Board (down the page it lists the games compatible with the Wii Board) link> http://en.wikipedia.o
    rg/wiki/Wii_Balance_Board /link
    > - 11/16/2008   4:28:01 PM

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