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Physical activity is hard as hell!
I am 19 entire years old and have always been downright awful at physical activity. Gasping for breath after running a short distance or going up stairs, crying out in pain after lifting something heavy, taking breaks after walking for a half hour.
Recently I was diagnosed with Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS), which explains some of the horrible agony I've been in after simple activities. Basically my brain doesn't know what my body is doing half the time and the default response to that is pain. So I'm in pain like, constantly. I also have chronic fatigue and have been shamed most of my life for not being as physically active as my peers, so doing any form of exercise is hard
, physically and mentally.
But DDR is cool as hell. So I will simply try anyway.
The plan for my DDR practice is as follows:
- Go to my local arcade, which has a $15 fee to play all day as much as you want, roughly twice a week
- Bring at least one water bottle
- Dance on 'light' mode (the second easiest setting), with a note speed of 2x
- Take breaks. Take so many breaks. I need to sit for like 20 minutes minimum after doing 2-3 songs
- If my feet/legs start to really hurt, I will stop playing DDR and go do something else until they feel better
- Ask the other DDR regulars for tips and help (they have all been incredibly nice)
- I will NOT push myself to finish a song if I can feel my legs starting to feel fuzzy or if my chest starts to hurt
GROUND ZERO: First Try
I looked up tips beforehand just to know what I'm getting into, meaning I knew from the get-go to keep my feet on the side arrows and practice 'walking' the notes. I've played DDR before without knowing any of this and could never even finish one song, so knowledge was very helpful haha.
Lots of reliance on the metal bar; my wrists hurt a lot after this first attempt! I also wore big chunky boots on this day, which are not ideal dancing shoes, so my feet hurt more than I think they really should have. I finished 2 songs and failed one; that was all I had in me. I did feel like I did a big workout, though, which is really the whole point.
FIRST C RANK
I was downright ELATED when I finally got a C rank! I wore sneakers this day and tried to use the metal bar for stability, not as a crutch. Wrists still hurt quite a bit, though.
Found out how to increase note speed to 2x this time around, and I watched some other players and realized I was moving my legs too much; I'd pull my legs like, WAY up while trying to hit the next step which was just not needed haha. Downloaded stepmania to practice reading charts while I'm at home.
FIRST B RANK
I went with a friend on this day; they naturally have more stamina and coordination than I do, so it was really satisfying to see myself keep up with them! I even got a B rank!
Reading charts on stepmania has definitely helped me knowing where my feet need to go.
I was able to do 6 songs
though, with a pretty substantial break in between the two sets of 3. I failed two, and my body hurt a whole lot, but I'm definitely improving.
My physical therapist says this will be good for me as long as I don't overexert, so I'm doing my best!
Went to the arcade with my partner to show off my improving dancing skills >:) I mdae a lot of strides! I was able to do multiple sets of 3 without taking a break, even!
Though I have been mostly sticking to the same few songs (Butterfly, Speed on Beethoven, 1998, maybe like two others), I'm still really proud that I got MOSTLY B RANKS TODAY BABY!!! My 'overall' score for each set was still a C or D, but I'm pretty sure I got mostly B ranks. It also takes more songs now for my legs to start feeling awful. Very big steps, I think.
And now I'm going on vacation; unless there's a DDR machine near where I'm staying, I won't be able to practice for a little over a week. Horrifying. I'll still do Stepmania, so hopefully I don't lose progress.
A DIFFERENT DDR MACHINE
On vacation, I went to an arcade with some friends, they had a different DDR machine; I forget the exact one, but it was a lot newer than the one at my local arcade. It had Vocaloid songs that I could play!
I didn't get to do many rounds, because the arcade operates on a coin system, not the free play my local one does, and there were some regulars playing constatntly on it. But I did a few rounds and I got a B+ on a level 7 song... I don't know how that compares to the songs I normally do, though... I think the difficulty scoring is different on the newer machines. There were more 8th notes than I'm used to, though, and I did them pretty well! So I count it as a win!