Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wii - For Seniors - Benefits identified


At the 2010 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine held in Baltimore, MD in June, Elizabeth Orsega-Smith, Ph.D presented a poster highlighting the results from her study exploring the many benefits of playing Nintendo Wii for Seniors. The pilot study, led by Dr. Orsega-Smith, an associate professor in the department of health, nutrition, and exercise sciences at the University of Delaware, Newark focused on the value of Wii as a way to help seniors burn more calories and become more active. Dr. Orsega-Smith reports that in addition to physical activity levels, other measurable variables include "psychosocial levels, self-esteem, social support, and quality of life,”

According to Dr. Orsega-Smith, this pilot study is only the beginning. These researchers hope to expand the study, incorporating functional measures such as "Timed Get Up and Go Test" as well as the "Berg Balance Test".

For occupational and physical therapists, the results of this study should encourage the use of Wii in therapy in the geriatric setting. Since sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for falls, increasing activity and feelings of well being in the Senior population may help reduce overall health care costs through a reduction in fall risk.
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