I've been playing since DDR Max.
Originally used to lose weight and it worked. :3 I lost more than 60 pounds. I don't play competively and probably never will. Back, knee, ankle and hip problems/pain/or trying not to injure myself really stop me from doing some of the super fast songs.
But I still try anyway.
I bought a metal pad a while ago, and I really enjoy using it. I take it all apart twice a year and clean it out, but it's not too bad. You can't imagine how much junk gets in the cracks.
I can never get used to/want to step all stiff like some people do, to barely move while they step. :/ I only really play on heavy mode, except sometimes I switch to standard for the boss songs. ^^