I failed ballroom dancing in college. Believe me. I have the transcript to prove it. Having practiced martial arts for years, dancing is still my downfall. Imagine my apprehension when I recently received Zumba Fitness 2 for the Wii.
What is Zumba Fitness 2 for the Wii? It’s a game based on Zumba, the popular dance fitness program. Once you enter the disc, you create a profile, and then you’re ready to go! You can choose to do a single Zumba song, a full Zumba class, or create your own custom routines. Zumba workouts vary in length and intensity that you can choose for your own needs. Included with the game is a promotion to try out a weeks’ worth of Zumba classes for free at a 24 Hour Fitness location.
The game includes a Zumba Fitness Belt that holds your Wii Remote while you dance your hips away. Zumba Fitness 2 is meant to be a hands-free experience, and the game works by tracking your hip movements. The belt has enough length to accomodate a variety of waist sizes, but may slip off for those who are slimmer. One thing about putting the Wii Remote in the Zumba belt is that the Wii Remote must be oriented upright (with the infrared port pointing at the ceiling) with the buttons facing outwards (no accidental hip-dialing). For almost an hour, I had the Wii Remote upside-down and was wondering why it wasn’t “working.” Any Wii Remote covers will also make putting the controller in the belt a bit more difficult since there isn’t a lot of wiggle room in the pocket.
If you’ve never done Zumba before, the game includes tutorials that break down a variety of moves according to dance style. A virtual Beto (the creator of Zumba) performs each move slowly where you can easily follow and imitate. Once you feel comfortable with the slow pace, you can try the same move at the normal speed.
Many if not all the movements in Zumba Fitness 2 focus on your core – hips, waist, and abs. You can see it in the animations of the characters throughout each song. Since the Wii Remote only tracks movements originating from you waist, your arms and legs are secondary. You don’t necessarily need to move them as much, but moving your core will help generate movement all throughout your body which will maintain your balance and also provide a better workout.
The game will provide feedback based on how well you do similar to other rhythm games like Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution. A rating of 1 to 5 stars is assigned based on how well you do. The better you do in the game, the more trophies you will unlock. There is even a calorie counter in the game that tracks how many calories you have burned. Be forewarned though, the calorie tracker only tracks full Zumba classes and only if you complete the whole session (no quitting halfway).
This game is not targeted towards active individuals. I didn’t find the workout to be particularly intense. I broke out in a very light sweat after half an hour and did not find the movements to be stressful at all. I didn’t think the tutorials were helpful by themselves as jumping right into a dance routine. Doing that gave them more context which I found easier to pick up moves that way.
Zumba Fitness 2 does have its merits though. It is great for beginners, and the range of movements will work your whole body at once. For those who are shy or reclusive and want to try something privately without feeling self-conscious publicly, Zumba Fitness 2 is a great outlet for that. I was getting jitters just putting the game disc in the Wii. If I can get over that, other people can too. Is it more fun with other people? I haven’t tried, but I imagine haphazardly mimicking Zumba movements in a somewhat organized fashion is bound to generate laughs.
Zumba Fitness 2 makes a good aerobic workout for those looking to start with something fitness related. The entry barrier to Zumba Fitness 2 is very low. The game does not focus on details or nuances so long as you are moving your body. Actual physical Zumba classes will vary among instructors and classes. For someone like me, this game made me feel completely uncoordinated. Yet I was able to allay my fears, imitate the movements, and even have fun which is really what you should be doing. Zumba Fitness 2 may not be for everyone, but for those who give it a chance, it may find a new place in your fitness world.