RESEARCH: Six Weeks of Unsupervised Nintendo Wii Fit Gaming is Effective at Improving Balance in Independent Older Adults.

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity [2014]
Authors: Vaughan Patrick Nicholson, Mark McKean, John Lowe, Christine Fawcett, and Brendan Burkett

Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of unsupervised Nintendo Wii Fit balance training in older adults.

METHODS: 41 older adults were recruited from local retirement villages and educational settings to participate in a six-week two-group repeated measures study. The Wii group (n = 21, 75 ± 6 yr) undertook 30 minutes of unsupervised Wii balance gaming, three times per week in their retirement village while the comparison group (n = 22, 74 ± 5 yr) continued with their usual exercise program. Participants’ balance abilities were assessed pre- and post-intervention.

RESULTS: The Wii Fit group demonstrated significant improvements (p <0.05) in timed up and go, left single leg balance, lateral reach (left and right) and gait speed compared to the comparison group. Reported levels of enjoyment following game-play increased during the study.

CONCLUSION: Six-weeks of unsupervised Wii balance training is an effective modality for improving balance in independent older adults.

 

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