This blog was written by Sean Holbrook.
What comes to mind when you think of somebody standing on Nintendo Wii's balance board challenging themselves in an interactive video game? I imagine the first thing you thought of wasn't an individual in their 70s or 80s; but the Wii's popularity continues to grow among the senior community.
Wii Is a Great Solution for Senior Fitness Programs
The Nintendo Wii provides senior wellness programs and retirement fitness centers a low-cost, commercially available interactive gaming system that gives immediate visual feedback in balance training and provides a fun and engaging way to increase physical activity for seniors.
Nintendo Wii's balance board for the Wii Fit game enables a user to test his or her center of balance with a visual display onscreen that shows what percentage of their body weight they carry over each foot. Those with an uneven center of balance will unnaturally compensate for their imbalance, which can cause their posture to become misaligned, increasing the level of stress on their bodies.
The game allows users to learn about their balance and provides them with tips for improving an uneven center of balance with several different training modes, including yoga, strength training, balance games, and aerobics.
Wii's Use Expanding in Senior Community Wellness Programs
Many senior community wellness programs are starting to incorporate the Nintendo Wii as a way to increase physical activity among residents. At the American College of Sports Medicine's 2010 world conference on Exercise is Medicine, Dr. Elizabeth Orsega-Smith discussed her recent study that compared the level of calorie expenditure for various Wii Sports games during 30-minute training sessions for Wii bowling, tennis, and baseball.
Dr. Orsega-Smith's results showed a calorie expenditure of 46 to 102 kcal, depending on the game. This may not be enough activity to combat chronic diseases associated with physical inactivity. But when combined with a regular exercise program, it can improve daily activity levels.
The physical benefits of using Nintendo's Wii have already been noticed by many senior wellness programs. Research from the scientific community continues to support what many seniors have already begun to discover.
How have you used Nintendo Wii to improve your senior fitness program's physical activity?