Exercise made fun
Many Holiday Retirement residents enjoyed participating in sports earlier in their lives. And thanks to interactive gaming systems, such as Nintendo’s Wii®, many seniors are reconnecting with the sports they love and reaping the benefits of increased exercise as well.
“I try to play as much as I can,” said Edith Traynor, a 94-year-old Holiday Retirement resident. “I’ve always been sports minded and like watching sports. Playing on the Wii® is just fun to see how you can do, and it’s exercise.”
The Wii® system, which is now featured in every Holiday Retirement community, has captured the imaginations of seniors everywhere with its simple and user-friendly controls. Many of the Wii® games require basic arm motions with users mimicking the actual movements of the game. For instance in Wii® bowling, users swing their arms in the same motion as a bowler while holding down a button on the controller.
When ready to release the ball, the user releases the button.
Research has indicated that Wii® games can provide many health benefits. One such study, appearing in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, showed that those bowling on the Wii® burned 20-176 calories in 30 minutes. The Wii® is also being used to help prevent falls and in studies to help those suffering with Parkinson’s. Other health benefits include increased hand-eye coordination and muscle strength.
Edith said playing the Wii® has helped her regain strength in her arms after she once broke both.
“The exercise does both arms good by giving them a swing like that,” Edith said.
Popular games at Holiday Retirement communities include bowling, tennis, golf, boxing, and baseball. Some communities have even formed Wii® leagues or compete on teams.
“It’s great because everyone can participate,” said Sheldon Oaks co-manager Terrie Powell. “Plus, they are getting exercise that is fun.”
While Edith hasn’t actually bowled in “60 or 70 years”, her high score on the Wii® is 220. She appreciates how the Wii® brings the community together and provides an avenue to unleash her competitiveness from her many years playing sports.
“It’s pretty competitive, but it’s all in fun,” said Edith, who has also squared off against her 12-year-old grandson. “It’s just a good chance to get together with my friends and share a lot of laughter, which is good for the soul.”