Just Dance may be fun, but is it exercise?
Just Dance, a surprise smash hit for the Wii, might not be marketed as a “fitness” game but I think it can be one heck of a workout. I decided to put it to the calorie/heart rate test, using my heart rate monitor. (I know, the calorie counter on heart rate monitors is a huge guess. My HRM uses age and heart rate plus “exercise factor” on a scale of 1-20. I set it at 7.)
In Challenge mode, you can play 1, 3, 5 or 10 songs. Unfortunately they don’t play nonstop back-to-back, unlike the course or endless modes of DDR on PS2 or Xbox. But if you select automatic instead of manual, the game will choose random songs for you and give you a chance to select the short version for ones you don’t like so much, or full version for ones you love. I played 5 songs on manual, full-length. With the warmup added on – the game has a really nice 5-minute warmup to stretch out all those Wiimote-waving muscles – the total workout time was 20 minutes and 23 seconds. Here are the songs and their numbers. TZ = target heart rate zone, determined by the HRM using the 220-age formula, since I’m too lazy to do all that resting-metabolism stuff.
1) U Can’t Touch This
Notes: This is one of my favorite songs on this game, and it’s a pretty good burner.
2) Cotton Eye Joe
Notes: Hey, I like this song! Nice long steady-state.
3) Surfin’ Bird
Notes: This party classic is brief but fast. For extra full-body work, get all the way down and do the gator, then get back up!
4) Hot and Cold
Notes: This is much more upper-body than lower-body, so not as much intensity here. It’s a good recovery song before the finale…
5) Pump Up The Jam
Notes: Pump up the burn!! My heart rate was at its height, and spent nearly 3 minutes at interval-workout intensity. Plus, the heavy hip-hop moves are some of the hardest in the game. I’m still struggling with the move that comes at about :45 in the video. I just can’t get my knees to waggle back and forth like that. Oh well, I’m gonna burn while I learn!
So the calorie burn total for 20 minutes (that’s not even counting the warmup) was 128, or 384 per hour. According to this chart, that is comparable to swimming, easy cycling or brisk walking for a 150-lb person. Moreover, my max heart rates in Just Dance are as high as I usually get while running or doing an advanced workout video.
Scoring? I don’t know – I didn’t even pay it any mind. As far as I’m concerned, Just Dance isn’t even a game; it’s an exercise video that has a much better soundtrack than you’ll find on 99% of American exercise videos, and you can pick and choose what songs to hear. I would like to see more fitness-related features on the next Just Dance, like player profiles and ability to play songs nonstop. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t have been such a big seller if it had that eat-your-veggies fitness angle.
Posted on February 25, 2010, in Exergaming, Game reviews, Gameplay, Weight loss and tagged calorie burn, dance, Exergaming, fitness, heart rate, Just Dance, Weight loss, wii. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.