Those that follow this blog know that I’m a pretty big fan of Nintendo Wii, and what it can contribute to a healthier world. It’s recently been verified that it does, in fact, provide beneficial exercise. With the release of Wii Fit Plus and EA Sports Active: More Workouts, comes more studies on the benefits of the interactive exercise games, and more.
The amount of energy adults expend playing active video games may equal that of moderate-intensity exercise, according to a new study. Also, Los Angeles City Department of Aging and SCAN Health Plan have joined together to provide Wii consoles to the city’s 16 Multipurpose Senior Centers (MPC).
Japanese researchers measured the metabolic equivalent values (a standard method of estimating energy expenditure) of 12 people ages 25 to 44 as they played Wii sports games and did Wii fitness programs. The study was funded by Nintendo, which makes Wii.The study found that nine Wii activities had less than two metabolic equivalent values (METs); 23 activities had two to three METs; nine activities had three to four METs; and five activities had more than four METs. The least intense activity was lotus focus (1.3 METs), and the most intense was the single-arm stand (5.6 METs).
Light-intensity exercise is less than three METs, moderate-intensity exercise is three to six METs and vigorous activity is more than six METs, according to the American Heart Association. An adult walking at 3 miles an hour on a flat surface expends about 3.3 METs.
“The range of energy expenditure in these active games is sufficient to prevent or to improve obesity and lifestyle-related disease, from heart disease and diabetes to metabolic diseases,” the study’s lead author, Motohiko Miyachi, a project leader at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo, said in a news release from the American Heart Association.
The findings were to be presented Monday at the association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Though yoga and balance exercises are much less intense than resistance and aerobic exercise, they help improve flexibility and reduce the risk for falls, according to the researchers.
Not only that, but here’s more about the senior centers use of Nintendo Wii:
Los Angeles-area seniors will soon have the opportunity to be bowling champions, and they don’t have to be able to heave a heavy ball down a waxed runway. That’s because the Los Angeles City Department of Aging and SCAN Health Plan have joined together to provide Wii consoles to the city’s 16 Multipurpose Senior Centers (MPC).”SCAN’s mission has always been to promote healthy and independent aging in the communities we serve,” said Roger Lapp, senior vice president at SCAN, a not-for-profit health plan. “One of the best things you can do to remain healthy and independent is to keep moving. Virtual bowling is a fun and easy way to do that.”
This type of bowling has become popular among seniors as it provides them a chance to engage in an activity that they might otherwise not be able to do. The game involves pressing a button on a wireless controller and moving your arm to mimic the motion of rolling a ball.
“Thanks to this technology, seniors who were once confined to a sedentary lifestyle due to hip, shoulder or knee pain can now enjoy the sports they once played,” said Laura Trejo, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Aging. “This is an excellent opportunity to engage in a fun, physical and social activity in support of a healthy and active lifestyle.”
Seven of the city’s 16 MPCs have received their consoles from SCAN already: St. Barnabas MPC, Freda Mohr MPC, Hollywood MPC, Felicia Mahood MPC, PCS West MPC, Theresa Lindsay MPC and Bradley MPC. At St. Barnabas an 83-year-old who had never played before was showing other seniors how to maneuver through the game by the end of the morning.
“When Wii came to our center, we believed it was easy enough for anyone to play, but we were surprised how quickly our seniors took to it,” said Rigo Saborio, executive director of St. Barnabas Senior Services. “It provides an opportunity for our participants to engage in a different kind of active program that offers fun physical exercise as well as mental stimulation. The collaboration and support of SCAN Health Plan and Los Angeles City Department of Aging will truly enrich the lives of our participants.”
Jewish Family Services received their game console last month. “Our clients have said they can’t wait to begin participating on a regular basis,” said Susan Mendlowitz-Belgrade, LCSW, director of Freda Mohr Center, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. “We can’t thank SCAN enough for supporting us.”
In the coming weeks, SCAN will complete its donations by delivering Wii units to the nine other LADOA MPCs throughout Los Angeles.