1. Health

Nintendo Wii Can Be Therapeutic

Seniors and Disabled People Becoming Active With Nintendo Wii


Updated June 22, 2008

Regular Exercise Is Often Resisted

A lot has been written about the importance of incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine. Knowing the health benefits associated with regular exercise, it's still difficult for many people to make the necessary commitment.

People may consciously or unconsciously resist regular exercise for various reasons. They may:

  • lead busy lives
  • lack motivation
  • believe that exercise is drudgery
  • believe they can't exercise due to physical limitations

But one inherent rule applies to nearly everyone -- doing something is better than doing nothing. Exercise becomes a positive experience when you:

  • make time in your busy schedule
  • engage in exercise that is fun
  • realize that physical limitation means just that -- you have limitations that must be respected

Nintendo Wii Provides the Fun Factor

The Nintendo Wii, which retails for about $249, was designed as a popular way for gamers to play virtual sports. When physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists learned about Nintendo Wii, they envisioned a different use for it. With the Nintendo Wii they could bring fun back into physical therapy, which can be boring and a motivation-killer if the patient doesn't remain enthusiastic.

The Nintendo Wii uses a motion-sensitive controller which requires people to move in order to play the games. No more couch potato doing finger exercises for hour upon hour. With the Wii, people are on their feet, moving their arms and legs -- depending on the game being played. People swing the motion-sensitive controller like a tennis racket, golf club, baseball bat, and even throw a football. It's range-of-motion exercise sprinkled with fun!

Senior Community Centers Offer Nintendo Wii Activities

Many seniors who were active in sports when they were younger have been forced into a more sedentary lifestyle after developing hip pain, shoulder pain, and knee pain. The limited mobility that comes with arthritis pain forced them to give up athletics and become spectators. That is, until the Nintendo Wii came along.

Now, seniors are lining up at senior community centers to play and compete against each other on the Nintendo Wii sports games. It has become so popular that many community centers are allowing additional time for Nintendo Wii.

The Nintendo Wii has garnered an unexpected audience. What is most exciting about Wii is that it has unexpectedly put the fun back into exercise and physical therapy, too. Don't become so enthusiastic about Wii that you forget about your physical limitations or precautions. Discuss your new passion for the Wii with your doctor. Be sure to ask if you have any restrictions. Follow your doctor's orders -- and enjoy being active again.

Summerlin Home News (Nevada Newspaper). And a-Wii we go. Kirk Baird. February 15-21, 2008.
Is Nintendo's Wii Really Good Exercise? January 24, 2008. ConsumerAffairs.com.

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