The benefits of a variety of physical and social activities such as gardening, resistance training and walking have already been examined for older nursing home residents.
While these studies have reported several physical and psychosocial benefits for the residents, there can be many barriers that prevent these activities being easily accessible.
Therefore, cost, space and time-effective strategies that allow more opportunities to engage in physical and social activities are needed.
A study published in the April issue of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity looks at one such option that warrants further investigation.
This is the playing of active video exercise games like the Nintendo Wii Sports, which can be played standing or sitting with a hand-mounted controller to perform simulated sporting movements.
Several studies have now demonstrated that some Wii games may be classified as moderate physical activities, as they may require three times higher energy expenditure to perform than when performing sedentary activities.
As the number of hours per day that older nursing home residents may engage in sedentary behaviour is substantial, exercise games like the Nintendo Wii Sports may offer a realistic way to increase their levels of physical activity, cardiovascular fitness and overall health and wellbeing.
I am an extremely active therapist who often works up a sweat playing Kinect Sports on my Xbox. What is great about it, is that the movements are not arbitrary. Many aerobic exercise regimes utilise movements that many users may question why they have to do it. Playing a movement based video game has a point, can work up a sweat, and most importantly, are challenging and fun.