Obesity is a major problem for today’s youth. I have heard many people say, “Kids just need to get outside and play like we used to,” or “They need to stop playing these video games and go play some ball.” The truth of the matter is that video games are extremely popular among children today so making these statements won’t change anything. Luckily, there appears to be a video game that is fighting obesity. That video game is Dance Dance Revolution, also known as DDR.
This video game is a music game produced by Konami. DDR is played on a dance pad that has four arrow panels (left, right, up and down). The object of the game is to synchronize your steps on the dance pad with the arrows that appear on the television screen. The arrows go with the general beat and rhythm of selected songs. There are over 1,000 songs to choose from in all of the versions of Dance Dance Revolution. Each song will have different difficulty levels to choose from and some songs will be harder to successfully complete than others. In order to do well with this game you have to be able to time and position your steps correctly. After a song is complete, a screen will come up showing how well the player did in the form of a letter grade and score. This is a video game that motivates the user to get up and get moving. DDR can entertain children of varying ages and ability levels.
Knowing how the game is played, it is somewhat obvious that DDR can be used for aerobic exercise. I have played this game myself. As a beginner I chose songs that fit my ability level, and still I could notice a difference in my heart rate. By the end of a couple of songs I was out of breath and sweating. There is no doubt in my mind that DDR can give you a good workout. The game does in fact have a function that lets you view the estimated calories burned while playing. Though most players aren’t concerned with this aspect of the game, it is still interesting to note that the makers of DDR were aware of the health benefits for our children. DDR is a valuable exercise tool that both young and old can enjoy. And it really doesn’t feel like you’re working out because it’s so much fun.
Burning enough calories leads to weight loss and there are some studies out there that have proven that weight loss will be a likely result from the regular use of DDR. One study showed that children that used the game improved in terms of aerobic capacity, blood pressure and overall fitness level. Not only that, but these children developed better attitudes about exercise and their self-esteem improved as well. This game is literally setting children up for a healthier and happier future. Who knew that a video game, something many parents wish their kids would pay a little less attention to, would make children more active? Dance Dance Revolution is a surprising way to help combat childhood obesity.