Monday, 30 April 2012

A balancing act so watch it

Bianca Clare | 31st March 2012

A GROUP of Sunshine Coast seniors is set to spend more time in front of the television to see if it helps improve their co-ordination and balance.

University of Sunshine Coast PhD student and physiotherapist Vaughan Nicholson is examining whether the co-ordination and balance for people aged over 55 can be improved by playing Nintendo Wii Fit virtual games.

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The video game has different activities including yoga poses, push-ups, strength, balance and aerobic exercises. Mr Nicholson said laboratory testing of participants from Lend Lease's Hibiscus Bellflower Retirement Resort and Hibiscus Chancellor Park began last week. "The average age of the participants is early 70s," he said. "We are trying to determine if taking part in a Wii Fit balance program improves several clinical and laboratory-based measures of balance and mobility. "Those measures then have a relatively direct relationship to predicting falls."

The Wii Fit includes a balance board that records movements and gives feedback. Mr Nicholson said participants were required to complete three 30-minute sessions a week, over a six-week period, at their retirement villages. "They will have nine balance games to select from, including tightrope walking and ski slalom. "We'll also look at the enjoyment they gain by playing these games because one of the protocols is that they have to do the gaming with at least one other person." Mr Nicolson said his project would be the first to examine potential benefits of Wii Fit on healthy, independent older adults.

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1 comment:

  1. That's great. I'm glad somebody is finally taking the Wii Fit seriously. Great stff, thanks!