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How to Lose Weight Playing Dance Dance Revolution

By Jennifer Boyden ; Updated July 18, 2017

Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) started as a popular arcade game in the late 1990s. Teenagers were drawn to the heart-pumping dance beats and the simple premise: Stomp on the dance pad in the pattern indicated by the arrows on the screen. However, DDR spawned a second surprising revolution. With the release of the DDR franchise on home video game consoles, enthusiasts could bring the music and the moves home, and those who played regularly noticed consistent weight loss and muscle toning. DDR, when utilized within certain guidelines, is an important fitness tool, especially for individuals who are unmotivated by traditional exercise routines.

  1. Purchase a compatible home video game console. DDR has been released on almost every popular gaming system, from all versions of Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox, to the Nintendo GameCube and Wii. For those who already own a video game console, there is no need to purchase a new one. However, for those without a gaming system, PlayStation 2 is considered the best platform for DDR due to the sheer number of titles specifically released for it.

  2. Select a DDR game. While only certain titles are available on certain gaming systems, there are still countless versions of DDR to choose from for each console. Many of the newer releases such as DDR Max and DDR Extreme offer more music tracks, but the key is to buy the most motivating product. Song lists are available for each title and can help consumers purchase the DDR games with the dance beats they personally like the most.

  3. Find a dance pad. While all DDR games can be played with a controller, that setup is not conducive to weight loss. To transform DDR into a calorie-burning experience, a dance pad must be used. Dance pads mimic the actual DDR arcade games by allowing the player to step on the parts of the pad that correspond to the pattern on the screen. Dance pads are available at a variety of prices depending on the material. However, while the plastic-coated cloth pads are the cheapest, they have a tendency to slide and bunch up during use. Foam insert and metal pads are the most durable, and while they are expensive, the cost is minimal in comparison to gym memberships and other exercise programs. Also, like in the arcade, players can keep their shoes on when using metal dance pads, an attractive option when considering comfort and the potential for injury.

  4. Choose the DDR Workout mode. Each DDR home release offers a Workout mode not available in the arcade versions. In Workout mode, players input their height and their exercise goals, including the duration of the session and the target number of calories burned. At the end of every song, the number of calories burned is displayed along with the total number for the session and the overall accumulation since day one. The DDR Workout mode also offers perspective for players by comparing those results to other exercises, including how many miles an individual would have to run to achieve the same benefits.

  5. Increase the difficulty. DDR songs offer varying levels of difficulty, from Beginner to Heavy. In Workout mode, players do not have to worry about "failing" the song and stopping the action, consequently interrupting the exercise. However, heart rate increases with difficulty, and players will find more cardiovascular benefit in challenging themselves.

  6. Play DDR frequently. Like any fitness routine, DDR must be repeated. Sessions should ideally last for at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week if the ultimate goal is weight loss. DDR should be one aspect of an overall change in lifestyle, a change that includes exercise but also dietary alterations and consistent sleep. Periodic DDR competitions are fun, but they will not contribute to weight loss.

  7. Tip

    DDR is intense, and players must drink sufficient water to stay hydrated and safe. Purchase two dance pads and DDR with a partner. While the two-player option is not available in Workout mode, mixing it up with a little friendly competition is a good way to break the monotony and rekindle motivation.


    Do not start a DDR Workout program or any other fitness routine without first consulting a doctor. Do not rely solely on a DDR arcade machine for weight loss. At over one dollar per game, the cost of playing DDR outside the home can add up quickly.

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