Are rhythm games like Just Dance considered serious workout?

just dance screenshot
Image courtesy of Ubisoft

Most of us want to live an active and healthy lifestyle. In fact, in 2013, some of the top searches done by Filipinos in Google are related to health and fitness.

But a lot of factors affect our path to wellness. We are too busy to exercise. Or sometimes too lazy. Other times, we don’t find exciting workouts that we  really enjoy doing.

With the advances in technology, however, there are now more options when it comes to exercising. With the success of Wii , tech giants such as Sony and Microsoft followed suit with the Move and Kinect. Now, game and fitness nuts can do two things they love: play games and exercise at the same time. And I must say that I’m one happy game and fitness nut.

Recently, I have been obsessed in busting my moves through Ubisoft’s Just Dance 4 and Just Dance 2014. I’m not doing it just because I love to dance, but mainly because I want to make sure that I get my daily cardio exercise, and hopefully continue to fit in my pants.( It seems that my pants are shrinking a little bit every single day. :))

just dance girly geek
This is me busting my moves in Timezone to the tune of Gentleman. Yes, I dance in public!haha Thanks to my friends Len and Nicol for capturing this moment. 🙂

Now, what we’re going to do in this post is determine whether dancing games such as Just Dance is enough to provide a full workout recommended by the government.

I must note that the recommendation is specific for Americans. I tried to find government recommendations solely for Filipinos, but unfortunately, I could not find any related data.

Recommended Cardio Workout

According to the Physical Activity Guideline for Americans posted in, adults need at least “2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Now, 150 minutes sound a lot! You can already finish around three episodes of The Walking Dead or one full episode of BBC’s Sherlock.

So, if you prefer to engage in a more active exercise and lessen the total time you want to commit, you can do at least 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity physical activity.

Vigorous-intensity physical activity includes:

  • Running
  • Fast cycling
  • Aerobics

Now, dancing in general, is considered a moderate-intensity physical activity by World Health Organization. However, there are various types of dances, and some types can be considered vigorous-intensity such as professional ballroom dancing, square dancing, and clogging.

Stamina in Dancing

Just Dance combines different types of dance such as hip-hop and street.  The types of dance mainly depend on the song. For example, Ricky Martin’s Maria has Latin-ish dance steps. So, it is safe to say, that Just Dance is considered a moderate-intensity physical activity. Therefore, if we strictly follow the guideline, we should at least log 2 hours and 30 minutes in Just Dance.

It is worth noting that there are some dances that do not feel moderate at all! Some songs make me feel like dying. 🙂

With my current stamina, I can only finish three songs in a row, which is approximately 12 minutes in total. I do this about five times a week. So, that’s only a total of 60 minutes. Clearly, I do not meet the suggested weekly exercise.

But like money in the bank, some is better than none. Sixty minutes of physical activity is better than zero.

just dance just sweat screenshot
Besides individually choosing songs, you can also do the Just Sweat option, which includes warmup, intense workout, and cooldown.

As I build my physical stamina, I plan to increase my Just Dance workout. If I want to reach the 150-minute recommendation, I have to dance for 30 minutes five times a week. I really believe that I can commit doing this. But it will take some time before I can dance continuously for 30 minutes.

All in all, games like Just Dance is not just for fun. When done consistently, it is a serious body workout that can help you stay physically active.

If you already have a Kinect at home, I highly recommend taking advantage of this awesome piece of technology. Dancing to rhythm games is a fun alternative to running or going to the gym.
















Irene Chan

Irene Chan

Irene Chan loves two things: communication and technology. With this tech blog and her role as Head of Communications at Veems, she believes she has the best job in the world. 🙂 Besides those two things, she's also crazy for coffee, dogs, and zombies.Follow her on Veems to get tips and fun updates from her geeky life.
Irene Chan