Monday, October 24th, 2011
Playing video sports games could change the health and face of older people living in nursing homes in New Zealand, according to a new research.

A study of 14 over 70-year olds showed that after an eight-week program, they were fitter, stronger and socialised more.

Nicola Power, Senior Lecturer from the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, AUT University, will talk through the findings at the International Ageing Conference in Melbourne today.

The study, possibly the first research to demonstrate significant increases in muscular strength from using the Wii games, shows that regular use of video sports games could help older people to retain their independence for longer.

“The research showed significant improvement in bicep curl strength, amongst the group using the sports games, compared to the control group,’ said Ms Power.

“Due to the importance of upper limb muscular strength and endurance in regards to daily living involving lifting, reaching and carrying, such a finding is of substantial practical significance.”

She says that video sports games should be considered more seriously by nursing home administrators.

“It is well known that many older people lead sedentary lives as a result of isolation, disability, frailty and chronic illnesses,” she says.

The trial in New Zealand gave participants the chance to experiment with a variety of games from baseball, tennis, golf, bowling and boxing. This helped to ensure a range of movements were used, and that potential boredom with the same game did not become an issue.

The study showed that video sports games provided variety to usual weekly activities, were a useful way of maintaining low level physical activity, allowed those with a competitive nature to compete against peers and staff, and helped participatsn to develop self esteem and confidence as they learned to use modern technology.

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Penny Underwood

P: 03 9818 8540
M: 0409 925 299


Wii and older people, Nicola Power, Regional Conference of Gerontology and Geriatrics,



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