Many times, video games are associated with countless hours of children parked in front of the television, controller in hand, eyes glazed over, lost in the world of virtual gaming.
Maybe you think video games are singularly dedicated to the younger generation. However, playing games and being active has no age limit. What if you could move the way the players do in the games? What if you could control the players with your own movements?
Plainly stated, exergaming is exercising and gaming twisted into a healthy activity for all ages to enjoy. The hybrid hobby uses a combination of technology, fitness, and wellness. Exergaming allows you to engage with the health benefits of a gym or the outdoors right within the comfort of your own living room. Interactive gaming consoles like the Wii are easily installed and stored with minimal space. With multiplayer options, active games on the Wii are suitable for family gatherings or social hangouts.
Video gaming is extremely popular amongst people of all ages, ranging from children, teenagers, and adults – creating a perfect bonding experience. After all, a little friendly competition is healthy now and then!
Exercise + Gaming = Exergaming
Many older adults may be nostalgic of the 1970’s era of arcade games. Or maybe you’re a fan of the Richard Simmons style workout videos. Interactive exercise games are the perfect mix between the two!
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exergaming is defined as technology-driven activities, such as video gaming, which requires participants to be physically active and mobile in order to play. Most of the gaming consoles are motion sensor driven. Exergaming removes the sedentary aspect of video gaming and incorporates a playful and competitive atmosphere for people of all ages!
The Nintendo Wii is one of the most popular video game console systems. The system was created in 2006, with revolutionary wireless controllers to bring players an entirely new interactive experience. Wii players engage with the games through intuitive motion-controlled remotes. The Wii is compatible with various games, specifically sport-inspired options. For about $80, you can have a Wii of your own! Installation is very simple, but assistance from a family member would be a helpful and exciting favor to inquire about.
Take advantage of the exergaming trend to motivate intergenerational family fun, as well as improve your health! Exergaming is changing the way we perceived video games in the past. On the Wii, you can dabble in virtual sports, including bowling, tennis, golf, baseball, and more. Simpy use your Wii controller to mimic the actions of your favorite classic sports!
Exergaming provides countless benefits for your overall health and wellness. When playing games on a system like the Wii, you will engage in a full body workout, mental stimulation, hand-eye coordination, and gaming strategy. In return, studies have proven exergaming improves your overall mood.
A 2011 study from the Activities, Adaptation & Aging Journal focused on the effects of playing the Wii on the well-being of the elderly in comparison to simple television watching. The study reported how elderly people who played the Wii had lower levels of loneliness and showed patterns of greater positive moods, compared to the elderly people who watched television. Since video gaming is a social-centered activity, you will automatically be engaging in a situation working to limit isolation!
Exergaming is also excellent for post-operative rehabilitation, as the games function to improve mobility at a variety of levels. Additionally, the Daily Mail reports how older adults who exergame for twenty-five minutes a day, three times a week, can benefit from improved brain health. The article states how exergaming is a possible protector from dementia, since the improved mental function from exergaming works to boost brain function!
With the Wii, you will be wrapped up in the virtuality of the games and barely notice the cardiovascular and strengthening benefits functioning for your body. Let off a little steam with healthy competition! The Wii is an extremely user friendly-game, made simplified for a wider audience. Use this as an outlet to immerse yourself in an activity your grandchildren most likely already enjoy.
What better way to get your grandchildren to pay a visit than offering video games in your home – a great way to score “cool grandparent” points!
A study conducted by Iowa State University tested the benefits of older adult wellness through an intergenerational physical activity exergaming program. The impacts of physical, intergenerational exergaming resulted in increased fitness, promoted socialization, and improved health, like flexibility and strength. On the other end, the younger participants showed improved perceptions of physical activity and wellness. In many settings, intergenerational programs provide countless benefits to both older and younger ages alike.
What better way to combine fitness, family time, and fun? Personally, I love playing the Wii, whether I’m playing against my siblings, friends, or grandparents, a good time is always guaranteed. Sometimes getting out to an actual baseball field or tennis court is difficult. Thankfully, exergaming provides an ideal, modern alternative for family physical activity engagement.
Get Moving – Physically and Virtually!
If exergaming seems like an activity you could implement into your lifestyle, I highly recommend getting started with the Wii! Popular Wii games include Wii Sports Resorts, Wii Fit, and Wii Degree. The gaming options range from cycling, frisbee, football, yoga, and even Sudoku. Challenge your younger family members to an exergaming challenge during the next family get together. You may surprise yourself with your exergaming abilities!
Best of all, the more you play, the fitter you will get. Are you a regular exergame user? Wii would love to hear your story!
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