Improving Balance using the Nintendo Wii
The Nintendo Wii can be used to work on improving balance abilities which can help maintain good control of posture and work muscles that are required for improved core stability. Balance requires the body to work both sides equally and together to maintain the desired posture – whether that be sitting or standing.
Poor balance can cause poor posture leading to back ache or discomfort in other joints. In standing poor balance may lead to an increased risk of falling. By working the muscles that control posture and balance it is possible to make them stronger and more efficient.
There are several ways you can work on your balance using the Wii. The main way is to use the Wii balance Board. This can be used by sitting on the board or by standing on it.
Sitting posture can be a focus even without the balance board by being aware of body positioning during game play or by sitting on more dynamic surfaces such as a physioball.
Standing If you already have reasonable balance then standing on the fit board should not cause you too many problems.
Different games require you to different activities on the fit board. For example – Wii Fit has a section of balance games that require you to use your body weight to control the game. This control of body weight from side to side, forward and back or a combination of all directions makes you work the muscles in your stomach, back and core, hence improving their function.
Sitting If standing on the board seems a little daunting and you are worried about over balancing or loosing control then try sitting on the board. It needs to be on a flat surface and you will need to calibrate the board by sitting on it at the start of any game. To complete the games successfully you will still need to use the muscles around your stomach and core, in the same way that you do when standing. The effort and work will be less though as you are in a much more stable posture.
Sitting on the Wii Fit board is a great way to reintroduce yourself to a little bit of upper body movement and is idea if you have been unable to get up and move about easily. Once you have gained confidence and are familiar with the games, you could then progress to standing with some support.
More information and instructions on recalibrating the balance board for sitting or lower limb work in sitting can be found by clicking the following button.
Without Balance Board
Standing Standing and playing appropriate upper limb games will increase the work required compared to sitting. Attention is required to ensure the body maintains symmetry in a neutral posture to help work the core muscles.
Sitting By sitting on different types of seating you will find yourself working your ‘core’ muscles in different ways.
Examples of different seating could be a physio/gym ball, a saddle stool or sitting straddled on a bench. So long as you are maintaining a good posture you will be working your core muscles. The difference between just sitting tall with a good posture and doing so whilst playing the Wii is that when you are using the controllers your upper limbs will be moving around, making your muscles in your core work harder to maintain the posture. As soon as you feel yourself reverting to a poorer or more relaxed posture you must either stop or correct yourself.
Using the controllers and accessing the Wii with a poor posture is likely to cause you more problems and should be avoided to prevent injury.