I am not an athlete, and I've never claimed to be one. That's why I was so proud of myself over the summer when I had worked my way up to running several 5Ks a week (on a treadmill) along with other cardio and (minimal) strength training. But once the school year returned in full force and going to the gym became a once-a-week trip at best, I decided to give up the pricey gym membership. This also meant I wasn't working out for several months.
Lately, though, I've found a few at-home workouts to get me back in my groove. The most fun, by far, is this little gem: Just Dance 2 for Wii. Over New Year's at the beach my friend Susannah introduced me to this game that her sister had introduced her to just days earlier. Right after we returned from the beach, Matt snagged me a copy on Amazon, and I have to say, I am hooked.
Move over, basement furniture, there's a new workout in town.
If you're not familiar with the game, Just Dance 2 (I can't comment on the original Just Dance, though I'm guessing it's similar) requires the player to copy the dance moves demonstrated on the screen, and players earn points for synchronizing arm movements with the computer. This does, of course, mean that a player could win without technically moving her feet (and I know this from experience), but that would be cheating and it would defeat the whole purpose of exercising. Players can compete against the computer or against friends; there's even a duet option for teams to compete against other teams. This also means next time you come to my house I will probably force you to play this with me.
The game includes music and accompanying dances from diverse genres and ranks each song in two categories: level of difficulty and level of sweat. A song rated one difficulty star and three sweat drops means the choreography is relatively easy, but following the moves will still get your heart rate up.
Just Dance 2 has a system that allows you to track your workout routine. I know it may sound silly -- and maybe I'm just horribly out of shape -- but doing several of these more cardio-intense dances in a row really is a workout. I've programmed my game to follow the "intense" workout (I use that term loosely, even though that's its technical name). This means I need to do six high-intensity dances in a row each day to meet my weekly goal. The best part of all this is that there's a little graph that pops up after each dance to show you how much progress you've made toward your goal. Each dance allows you to score several hundred "sweat points." I have to say, that graph provides me with some serious positive reinforcement.
Promptly after meeting my daily objective I may have cracked open a Woodchuck Raspberry Cider, but at least I earned it.