Many people who play Just Dance 3 on the Wii are interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. Just what are the sweat points that the game registers, and how do they relate to calories?
It's important to note that you can't just track "an hour of dancing" to get a good measure of how many calories you're burning. Some songs, like "Something Stupid" are extremely slow and barely burn 50 sweat points. If you played that over and over again for an hour you'd only burn a few calories. However, other songs like "Jamaican Dance" are quite lively and I can easily burn 500 sweat points a pop doing that one. You crank up the calories very quickly doing that.
It's also important to note that the calories you burn are highly dependent on your weight and energy output. If you're a thin person and barely move on Jamaican Dance you'll only burn a few calories. If you're a quite heavy person and pour your heart and soul into the dance, you'll burn a ton of them.
The equivalent for a typical overweight person to take sweat points and turn them into calories seems to be, after some runs with my various tracking equipment, about 4.2:1. That is, you take the sweat points, divide by 4.2, and get your resulting calories. So if you did a song and burned 420 sweat points, that would be 100 calories.
Now, interestingly, 1 calorie is equal to 4.2 kilojoules. In many non-US countries, the kilojoule is how they count energy instead of with calories. It's similar to some people measuring length in feet and others measuring it in meters. So sweat points are a legitimate measurement for much of the world.
As you rack up your sweat points in a given session, you can get some fun encouraging messages along the way!
1,000 sweat points reached
Good Start! You've just walked across Central Park.
Note: Central Park in New York City is about 2.6 miles across. You burn between 100-200 calories walking a mile depending on your speed and weight. The 4.2 calculation has this come in at 238 calories, so you were walking at quite a clip on your park jaunt!
2,000 sweat points reached
Well done! You've just run 10 rounds of the Wembley Stadium
Note: I looked at the Wembley Stadium website and they say their circumference is 1k, so that is a 10k run. I'm finding sites that say a 10k burns 600-800 calories. With our 4.2 calculation we get 476 calories - so maybe what the game means is we ran around on the inside field, not around the circumference.
3,000 sweat points reached
Impressive! You've just climbed all the steps of the Eiffel Tower
Note: The Eiffel Tower in Paris and has about 1700 steps from bottom to top. You burn on average 0.1 calories per step - so I'm not sure this makes sense. It would only be 170 calories. The 4.2 calculation gives us 714 calories. That's a huge difference. I'm not sure why they were so off on this one.
4,000 sweat points - no message!
5,000 sweat points reached
Awesome! You've just swum across the Nile River!
Note: The average width of the Nile River is 5 miles. You burn about 300 calories a mile, so that's 1500 calories total. Using our 4.2 conversion, that's 1190 calories. So a fairly big difference. Maybe they think we're swimming at a narrow point :)
6,000 sweat points - no message!
7,000 sweat points - no message!
8,000 sweat points - no message!
9,000 sweat points - no message!
10,000 sweat points reached
Epic Win! You've just hiked the Great Wall of China!
This took me over 2 hours of dancing the high-point songs to reach.
So what did they mean by that? The Great Wall of China is 5,500 miles long. Clearly I didn't "walk that" in 2 hours. Maybe they just meant climbing the steps from the bottom to the top. I can't find any site that gives an accurate number of steps. Several say "over a thousand". However the Eiffel Tower has 1,700 steps from bottom to top and that was only 3,000 sweat points. So clearly that's not right either. They must mean some sort of a "day trip" average, where you start at the bottom, get to the top of the wall, go hiking along it for a distance, and then go down again.
11,000 sweat points - no message!
12,000 sweat points - no message!
13,000 sweat points - no message!
I'll note here that these calorie counts are for an overweight person. Fit people burn less calories, in part because they are not carrying pounds of weight on their shoulders. So at 135 pounds, when I did the 13,000 sweat point run, I only burned 820 calories. I would have had to wear a weight vest to get the same benefit that overweight people do naturally.
That's as far as I've gotten. Has anyone gotten to 14,000 points or beyond?
In terms of losing weight, you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound. So hitting 1,667 calories - assuming everything else in your life is even - will cause you to lose just shy of a half pound.