Impressions: New U Fitness First Yoga and Pilates

I’ve never really dabbled in yoga, at least not when it comes to videogames. For that, I’ve always gravitated toward more intensive workouts, like Dance Dance Revolution, when I’ve been in the mood. Before New U Fitness First: Yoga and Pilates Workout, I hadn’t the first clue about what you actually do with yoga. Sure, I’ve heard about its health and mental benefits and have always wanted to give it a try, although I wasn’t sure if a videogame was the best place to start. But after diving in and giving it a fair shake, I had a decent understanding of the workout and new-found appreciation for just how peaceful and relaxing the art of yoga and Pilates can truly be.

To get things started you’ll first have to set up a profile for yourself, detailing your body shape and goal for the program. Rather than a goal weight or BMI, this fitness endeavor focuses mainly on improving your flexibility and working out while de-stressing in the process. Of course, you can input that your goal is to lose weight, but my impression from my time with the game was that of achieving overall mind and body wellness.

After you create your profile and choose a personal trainer (not a cartoony instructor, but a real person!) you select a backdrop for your exercises, and then it’s time to get started. According to your proficiency with the workouts, you can select a skill level that works best for you. As a newcomer, I chose to complete tutorials centered on the lower end of the proficiency scale. I found the exercises simple enough to understand and follow along with, though without the addition of the Wii’s Balance Board augment, the program often felt less like a game than an interactive instructional video; you’ll definitely want to have one at the ready to get the most use from the game and its exercises.

The presentation was top-notch, and the instruction videos featuring the real-life trainers are crystal clear and simple to follow throughout. Voices are clear, pleasant, and friendly enough, but without real instructional feedback (as you’d get via Kinect or Move), I couldn’t be too sure if I was always on point or way off the mark. In the end, though, I did pick up some of the terminology and specific techniques used to relax the body and, supposedly, the mind. Regardless of real-time feedback, I still came out of the workout sessions feeling appropriately winded and accomplished, even though I didn’t perform my usual “stressful” and more intensive workouts.

New U Fitness First: Yoga and Pilates Workout for the Wii offers clean navigation, explicit instructions, and personable trainers that ensure the experience is painless, even for yoga newbies such as myself. Of course, for the price and what will essentially be an interactive workout, it’s not exactly economical. But this is a professional, streamlined attempt at bringing the relaxing techniques of yoga and Pilates to Wii owners who otherwise may not have any interest in in the medium. It’s a professional application that would make a fantastic transition to either the Xbox 360 Kinect or PlayStation Move, but as a basic Wii offering, I can’t quite recommend it unless you plan on using it at all times coupled with the Balance Board peripheral.

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