An article appearing in Medscape's Medical news Multiple Benefits Seen for Exercise in Seniors summarizes much of the evidence gathered about benefits of an active lifestyle. "Successful survival", defined as "living past 70 in general good physical and mental health", occurred more often in study participants who had a most active lifestyle during the period 10 to 15 years prior to 70 when compared to a cohort who had a most sedentary lifestyle during that same period.
Since encouraging regular physical activity in the most sedentary adults fosters long lasting benefits, healthcare providers as well as family and friends often hope to find ways to promote change.
Changing various health behaviors occurs through a process. Many theories of health behavior change offer insight into ways to maximize success for those attempting to alter behavior. One theory in particular, the Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change), explains behavior change as a journey through various phases of awareness and action. Each phase leads to increased awareness of the need for change. Those along the journey of change gain confidence in their ability to make and maintain the desired modification.
Nintendo Wii activities play an important role as a fun way to bring exercise into an individual’s daily schedule. Individuals in the "pre-contemplation" stage, when exposed to activities in Wii Sports and Wii Fit, may increase their awareness of both their need for exercise and their need to improve endurance and balance. This awareness may help them move to the "contemplation" stage. Since Wii Sports and Wii Fit bring a fun factor into exercise, individuals may decide that moving more can be enjoyable. In fact, they may begin to view physical activity while using the Wii not as exercise but as just a fun activity, helping the individual move on to the "preparation for action" stage. Furthermore, Wii Fit activities provide great feedback and can be played together with others (two aspects of other theories of learning and change). As a result, individuals may begin to engage regularly in the use of Wii Sports and Wii Fit activities. Once these individuals are well entrenched in this "action" stage, the individual is well on their way to a less sedentary lifestyle.
Ford Vox, MD explains however, that activities offered through Nintendo Wii games should not be used as a replacement for the actual sport. But for those individuals who have a sedentary lifestyle, not participating regularly in any physical activity, Wii offers a motivating vehicle to change.