The Video Game That Can Actually Help You Lose Weight

It usually isn't common to hear people mention the words "video games" and "weight loss" in the same sentence. After all, most video games keep you sitting around for hours. But that's the keyword: most. Now and then, a video game can get you up and moving.

Just Dance is one of these games. And it doesn't just get you up and moving. Once you're past the tutorial, the dances are fast enough that they count as a cardio workout. As one 2015 study from the University of Brighton found, dancing can burn up to 300 calories in just half an hour.

When speaking to Time, the study's author, Dr. Nicholas Smeeton, explained that dance moves our body in all directions. This works muscle groups we wouldn't usually work and keeps our heart rate elevated. Of course, Just Dance isn't quite as freeform is hitting a club. But it still gets your heart pumping and your body moving. And according to My Fitness Pal, it still packs a major calorie burn at 265 calories after 30 minutes for a 200 pound person. General dancing, for comparison, only burns about 153 calories.

What sets Just Dance apart

Just Dance isn't the only dance video game out there, but it's currently the most popular. And for most people it's the most accessible. The game is available on multiple game systems and the game's newest version can even be played with a smartphone, according to the Just Dance Now website.

Some versions of the game require a game camera while others, like the version on the Nintendo Switch, use the game controllers to track your movements. Versions with the camera even have the option to record your dance routines, though you can shut off that option in the settings menu.

But these are just the reasons why Just Dance is considered a great game for weight loss. It takes exercise and makes it fun using great music. And no matter your favorite genre, there is a good chance you will find something you like in the Just Dance catalog. Older versions of the game had a set list of pop hits and family favorites to choose from. The newest version also offers access to Just Dance Unlimited, a catalog of over 600 songs.

Players can set up dance parties with up to 6 players, each in their own home. And parents have access to the Just Dance Parents' Guide so the game is fun for the whole family. You don't have to be a professional dancer to get up and get moving with Just Dance. You just have to start the music and have fun.