Video games, once seen as high-tech ways for kids and teenagers to pass time are becoming more appealing to a surprising demographic: seniors. And while some seniors might be interested in some of the more mainstream video games, the majority are using video games to help them exercise at home.
Exercise video games--ranging from Wii Fit to Xbox Kinect to Rock Band, are increasingly popular for seniors who are looking for fun new ways to exercise at home. While some may initially explore these fitness games at the urging of children or grandchildren, they quickly find the appeal of the investment and are able to see the senior-friendly benefits that videogames have to offer.
The Benefits of Video Fitness Games for Seniors
Believe it or not, the appeal of videogames for seniors looking to incorporate more exercise into their lives is not just, well, fun and games. Research has shown that there are both physical and psychological benefits that come along with seniors playing exercise video games. Here are five reasons you should consider trying out this growing trend:
- Stronger Balance. Studies have shown that seniors who play video games more than once a week have a better balance and control. Specifically, the study found that “healthy elderly can benefit from a videogame-based exercise program to improve balance and that all subjects were highly motivated to exercise balance because they found gaming challenging and enjoyable.”
- Improved Cognition. An article published on WebMD, had Dr. Ezriel Kornel, of Brain and Spine Surgeons of New York, weigh in on how videogames can improve your overall cognition: “Anytime the brain is in learning mode there are new synapses forming between the neurons. So you’re creating thousands of connections that can then be applied to other tasks as well.”
- Increased Happiness. A study out of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine focused specifically on seniors with depression between the ages of 63 and 94 who played Wii exercise games for 35 minutes, three times a week. The result? More than one-third of the participants reported “a 50 percent or greater reduction of depressive symptoms.”
- Fall Prevention. Since active video games improve overall balance and coordination, they have also been proven to help greatly reduce the risk of falls for seniors. Research has found that balance can improve in as little as 2-6 weeks after starting to play exercise video games.
- Less Loneliness. While these fitness games are a great way to improve physical and mental health, they also can improve social well-being also. Many of these exercise video games are designed to be played with more than one person, so it’s easy for friends and family members to join in the fun.
Video Games For Aging Well
Whether you choose to invest in Xbox or Wii exercise games, you really can’t go wrong! Although if you live alone, you should also consider investing in a Mobile Guardian. As the ideal medical alert device for those who want to remain active--both inside and outside of the house--the Mobile Guardian can connect you to help within moments of experiencing a fall, injury, or other medical emergency.