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Wii Benefits for Seniors

Senior couple watching TV together

Video games have been around since the days of Pong and Pac-Man. But as the games became more sophisticated, so did the controllers. It took hard-earned skill to become adept at pushing the right button at the right time to hit a target or avoid a mutant bent on your destruction. Then around 2006, along came the Wiimote — and Wii games for seniors took off.

If you could swing your arm, you could play Wii Sports. Instead of looking down at the console to see which button you’re pushing, you could focus on the game and use movements that came naturally.

With your Wiimote in hand, all you had to do was pretend it was a tennis racquet and swing. Or a golf club. Or a bowling ball you throw at a pin. For the first time, anyone could play video games with their Wiimote. Young kids, teenagers, moms, dads, even grandparents fell in love with their Wii.

Wii games for seniors make exercise fun.

Pumping iron and running on a treadmill are great for improving strength and aerobic capacity. But for many people, they’re not a ton of fun. But Wii dance games for seniors, like Just Dance, motivate you to learn new moves and get a cardio workout at the same time.

Besides being an enjoyable way to exercise, Wii dance games for seniors reduce stress, improve visual recognition, boost decision-making skills, and lower your risk of dementia. All good reasons to put on your favorite tune and bust out a move.

If mobility issues prevent you from hitting the links or heading to the bowling alley, Wii games for seniors, like golf and bowling, offer the experience of those games without leaving home. Playing Wii Sports also helps improve coordination, strength and balance. An 89-year-old woman with a balance disorder significantly improved her scores on a series of balance tests after just six sessions of Wii Bowling.

Who knew gaming was good for your health?

If you think gamers sit around all day with a bag of cheese puffs, a caffeinated drink, and a controller in their hand, Wii has news for you.

Wii Fit comes with a board you stand on that measures your weight and balance. You can set goals, get immediate feedback, try to beat your own score, or compete against others. There are traditional Wii exercise programs for seniors like aerobics and yoga, as well as boxing, hula hoops, chasing moles on a Segway, and running an obstacle course in a Super Mario Brothers world, to name just a few. The games are fun and if you turn up the settings, you’ll get a real workout.

Give your brain a Wii workout.

When you combine physical activity with something that is mentally demanding, your brain works harder than if you were just doing something physically demanding, like going for a brisk walk. Studies suggest active video games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit improve cognitive function. And though they can’t prevent memory loss, Wii games for seniors with dementia may slow the progression of the disease.

Simply learning how to play a new game builds brain power. Learning forms new connections between neurons, which helps increase response time and improve memory. As you get better at playing Wii games, you can increase the challenge to keep your mind firing on all cylinders.

Wii brings us together.

Wii games are a great way to get some exercise on your own. But they’re even better when shared with others. Seniors and kids can bond over Wii games. And teams can compete and cheer each other on to victory. There’s nothing like healthy competition to make you step up your game and keep your eye on the prize. Even if it’s just bragging rights until next time.

Making fitness fun is part of the program at Laurel Circle.

At Laurel Circle, fitness plays a key role in our wellness program. But we know from experience that if you don’t enjoy it, it can be hard to stick with it. That’s why we offer a variety of fitness classes to keep you motivated, including yoga, Tai Chi, strength training, balance training, swimming, and Wii exercise programs for seniors. To learn more about our holistic approach to health, visit our Wellness page.