Workout alternatives with dance video games

Just Dance 2014, along with other dancing video games, can be a possible alternative work-out option for students. (Photo by Ubisoft)

Finding a good way to exercise can be difficult when school is in full swing. Active video games that require motion-detecting systems, like Just Dance, Dance Central and Dance Dance Revolution, force players to physically move their bodies and can be an alternative workout choice.

Some students turn to these dancing video games to get on their feet and start burning calories. The recent release of Just Dance 2014 on Oct. 8 provided yet another dancing video game option for students looking for some exercise.

Anginae Monteverde, an exercise and wellness major from Fresno, Calif., said she played Just Dance because people around her started playing the game.

“It’s a way to exercise and have some fun time after school,” Monteverde said. “It’s fun.”

The variety of features in dancing video games makes the games entertaining and fun for players. Players can choose to challenge their friends, dance in a group or even interact with virtual communities that are playing the same game online.

“It’s a fun activity to do with a big group of people because you get to dance, joke around and listen to music,” said Haley Capra, a therapeutic recreation major from Kingwood, Texas.

Some dance video games include modes to track how many calories players burn and how long players have been active. The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published research stating active video games reduce the risks of becoming overweight or developing health-related issues such as diabetes. The research also shows indications that active video games can help with rehabilitation therapy.

However, dance video games are not perfect substitutes for traditional workouts. A review of Canadian experts called “Active Video Games and Health Indicators in Children and Youth” suggests that dance video games actually do not provide enough physical activities on a daily basis for children.

Monteverde said she would not buy the new version of Just Dance because playing dance video games every day would not meet her daily requirement of exercise.

Jordan Sloan, a senior from Vancouver, Canada, said dance video games are definitely a great choice when you hang out with your friends. However, Sloan doubts dance video games’ benefits.

“You sweat a little bit, but it’s because you play in a big group,” Sloan said. “I couldn’t say it’s a good source of exercise.”

Despite controversies about the health benefits, dance video games are a fun way to get students off the couch and burning some calories. 

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