- Type: Exergame
- Platform: Nintendo Wii
- Equipment Included: Zumba belt
- Price: $39.99
- Fitness Level: Beg, Int, Adv
- Fitness Challenge: 6/10
Zumba Fitness for Wii is an exergame based on the incredibly popular Zumba, a dance program combining Latin music with dance moves for a fun, aerobic workout. It's like regular low/high impact aerobics, but based on dances like the Calypso, Cumbia, Merengue and Salsa. If you don't know what those are, no worries. The game includes tutorials for all the dance moves and there are 30 workouts to choose from.
Getting started involves creating a profile, choosing a fitness level (easy, medium or hard) and strapping on the included belt to track your movements. The controller fits into a pocket on the belt, tracking the movement of your hips. To get started you can try:
- Tutorials- The tutorials cover all the dance steps, although there's no real breakdown of the moves. You simply follow the on-screen instructor through different levels of difficulty. Note: The tracking here is so sensitive, it catches even the smallest movement, which causes the system to take you to the next level whether you're ready for it or not.
- Workouts - You can choose options from Zumba Party, where you can workout at different venues (night club, a factory, a rooftop, etc.) or Zumba Class where you can choose beginner, intermediate or expert classes that range from 20 to 45 minutes.
- Single Routine - This great feature allows you to do individual dance routines for practice or shorter workouts.
You can also access a multiplayer menu and a workout calendar, where you can create your own schedule or choose one of the preset schedules.
How it Works
Once you choose your workout, you put on the waist belt which includes a pocket for your controller. You mirror the instructor's movements on screen and the system tracks the movement of your hips to determine accuracy. As the instructions suggest, when you hit the moves correctly, the on-screen dancer glows an eerie green color and your energy bar on the bottom of the screen fills up with more energy, making the crowd go wild.
I've never tried Zumba and my first experience was pretty laughable. I was able to pick up the basics, mainly because I've done a lot of aerobics classes, but found my general dancing skills challenged by the intricate moves. The movement tracking, as with many Wii games, was sometimes a frustrating experience. There were times I got the moves down right, yet my on-screen aura stayed red (indicating I wasn't getting the moves right). Other times I wasn't even close, yet my aura was green. If it was frustrating during the workouts, it was beyond awful during the tutorials. While doing the basic moves, the system interpreted any movement as success, the instructor yelled 'Great!' and I was then taken to the next level, even if I'd only done a few steps. I ended up putting the controller on a table, practicing the moves and then shaking it to get to the next level.
The workouts themselves were fun, once I stopped worrying about accuracy. The intensity for me was around 4-5 perceived exertion, making this a good low-moderate workout. Once you get the moves down, it's easier to add more energy to the dances and raise the intensity more.
Pros and Cons
- Fun: As a non-dancy person, I did find the workouts fun, even when I had no idea what I was doing.
- A good workout: Whether this is a high intensity workout or not depends on your fitness level and how hard you work. I found the overall intensity low to moderate.
- A good way to learn Zumba: I know several clients who used Zumba Wii to try Zumba because they were too intimidated to try a class. You'll get more out of a class, but the Wii version may be a good choice if that isn't an option.
- Simple to use: Getting started is a snap and though there aren't a lot of extras (such as being able to track calories burned), the simplicity makes it easy to get in a quick workout whenever you have time.
- Tracking inaccuracy: The tracking in this game was frustrating, particularly during the tutorials. At times it doesn't seem to pick up anything and other times it picks up an eye-blink. If accuracy is important to you, this may frustrate you.
- Complex dance moves: If you don't like to dance, I would think twice about this game. I'm coordinated, but trying to move my hips one way and my arms in another was not easy. If you're easily frustrated, this may be a problem for you.
- Not many extras: While you can create a workout schedule, there aren't other motivating extras that some fitness games include, such as information about calories burned or workouts completed.
Overall, Zumba Fitness offers a fun, aerobic workout that will appeal to people who enjoy dance-oriented workouts. You'll enjoy this if you can look past the tracking issues and have the patience to learn the moves.