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Zumba has been all the rage these past many years. I had never tried it, although I know a number of friends who love it. About 6 weeks ago, I received a copy of the game, Zumba Fitness to try. As a PlayStation Family member, I am often trying different PlayStation games. I couldn’t wait to get started on Zumba.
The first thing I noticed about the Zumba Fitness box was that it was unusually larger than a normal video game. The Zumba Fitness game comes with a Zumba Fitness belt, which straps around your waist and holds your PlayStation Move controller, making your play hands-free. The PlayStation Move controller is part of an add-on, which includes a camera and a Move controller, and is available for separate purchase from the PS3.
The PlayStation Move controller gets placed in the belt on your hip so it can track your hip movements, which is a vital part of Latin and International music. And let me tell you, the music is lively and fun, even exotic at times. Zumba Fitness includes 30 music tracks created by Zumba producers. You really feel like you’re dancing at a hip Latin dance club. Learn moves from sexy and hip dances like salsa, merengue, hip hop, and more. Check out the Zumba Fitness website to get a sampling of all 30 music tracks.
The Zumba Fitness video game uses actual Zumba routines in the game. If you are a Zumba enthusiast in the gym, you will know some of these routines. Other routines have been added exclusive only to this game. I love the variety of dances you learn in this game. In fact, there are nine different dance styles including:
From what I can gather (please forgive my naïvety), if you’re into Zumba, then you know the famous Zumba instructors, namely Gina, Tanya, and Beto (who created the Zumba Fitness program originally.). Each of these instructors are featured in the game. The producers of the game have taken great strides to make the game authentic and true to real life Zumba.
I really appreciate the different levels of dance offered, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. I have not ventured off the Beginner tracks yet, but my scores are getting high enough that I think I will try Intermediate beginning next week. I’ll tell you, my first week was tough, I danced like a fish out of water! There was no style, no skill, not even any resemblance to the dancer on my screen. Really? Was I really that uncoordinated I thought? Fortunately, the next week I started getting the hang of it and improved my mirroring of the instructor.
When you begin the game, you start out in a fantasy night club. As you improve your moves, you open other venues in the game like a skyscraper rooftop and a Zumbathon stadium. I haven’t made it out of the fantasy night club yet, but I know I’m getting closer to passing to the next level.
There is no numerical scoring to judge you on how you dance (Phew!). Nonetheless, there is an “energy bar” at the bottom of the screen that you work on filling up. It starts with no color, then goes to red as you begin to mirror the instructor’s moves. As you become better, the energy bar lights begin to turn yellow then green. If your dancing isn’t matching up to the instructors, you can lose color bars too. Once you fill up the energy bar you move to the next stage and two back up dancers are added behind your instructor. It’s a really good motivator to see a another pair of dancers behind your instructor. If you’re really good, you can add up to six extra people dancing behind the instructor.
I’ll be the first to tell you, you will break a sweat in this game! I turn on my fan full blast when I’m dancing. Each workout Level (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced) contains a 20 minute or 45 minute option, so dependent upon your timing, you can still get in a workout. You can also choose a Dance Party option to have up to three dancers dance at the same time.
See? An action shot. I’m all a blur while I dance and mimic the onscreen instructor.
One aspect of the game I really like is that the game assumes you are playing it because you want an ongoing Zumba class. They have a calendar section where you can enter in your schedule for classes. My class is every Tues. and Thurs. Of course, I don’t receive a reminder by e-mail or anything, but it’s kind of like making a commitment to yourself when you enter in your days. There is also a Journal area which keeps track of your workouts and which level you played. As I look back at my past classes, I can see I’ve been pretty faithful, although this week I was off track due to fasting for an upcoming health test. You can imagine my husband’s surprise when one morning I told him I started a Zumba class. He naturally thought I was going to a gym somewhere!
My Unexpected Result
I wear my Striiv pedometer everyday to measure my footsteps. I usually walk about 5,000 steps or so in the mornings when I don’t do my Zumba class. Surprisingly, I rack up about 3,500-4,000 steps just from my Zumba routine and I rack up those steps in less than half the time of my walk. Pretty cool.
But actually, my increased number of steps was not the unexpected result I wanted to tell you about. One morning I was taking my Zumba class in my Family Room at 6:45am and I heard a noise behind me. My son had heard the music from his room and he came down to see what was going on. He was cuddled up on the couch with a blankie. Soon afterwards, my daughter (she’s 9) had joined him. They watched for about 10 minutes and then I invited them to join me. My son (he’s 6) got right up and danced with me.
Two days later, I turned my music a little louder and sure enough, both kids were on the couch with blankets watching me. After asking who was going to join me, they both got up and all three of us danced. We had so much fun and we snuck in a good workout…before school even started!
At last, Zumba in the comfort of your own home. Feel you’re not coordinated? Woke up too late for your gym Zumba class? Prefer a class of one? Want to get the whole family moving without paying a fortune for class? Love to have friends over for dance parties? Zumba Fitness is your answer. And the Zumba Fitness video game has been around for a little while now. Zumba Fitness has been so popular, that it sold over 4 million games since it was introduced. Want more Zumba? Now there are even more Zumba video game to play: Zumba Fitness 2, Zumba Fitness Rush, and Zumba Fitness Core – due out on retail shelves October 16th. I danced with Zumba Fitness Core at E3 earlier this year, it’s a great game too.
Zumba Fitness is available on the Playstion 3 with Move, Kinect for XBOX 360, and the Wii. Zumba Fitness sells $26.79 from Amazon.com.
* I was given a copy of Zumba Fitness as a result of being a PlayStation Family Ambassador. I only express my own opinions.