Gaming systems like the Wii console, the Nintendo DS bundle and the PS3 bundles may seem like they would be exclusively in the realm of today’s youth, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many are finding that such gaming systems are ideal for getting seniors to exercise. The sense of fun and excitement makes the arm and leg movements fun, and this is bolstered by a healthy sense of competition.
One of the most popular video games among seniors is Wii bowling. Many senior citizens in nursing homes lack the physical strength to bowl with actual bowling balls, but doing it virtually carries with it much of the same excitement as a real bowling game. It’s like bringing a bowling alley right into the living room or the rec room. Other popular virtual sports include golf and tennis.
Playing these games on a Wii console has the benefit of stretching underused muscles. It’s an activity that encourages an appropriate amount of movement – nothing too strenuous, but intense enough to burn calories. Some programs specifically track fitness goals so that those who are playing can see the progress that they are making.
One man who clearly appreciates the value of these games is John Bates, a retired high school principal in Wisconsin. Bates is 85 years old, but he didn’t let his advanced age stop him from achieving the impressive goal of getting into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Though he has only been playing for two years, Bates now holds the record for bowling the most perfect games in Wii Bowling. While it was a friend who got him hooked on the game, Bates soon purchased a console of his own, and now, he’s bowled more than 3300 perfect games. It’s an accomplishment that he could work toward in the comfort of his own home, getting exercise at the same time.
Bates may be exceptionally good at this game, but it’s becoming more and more common for older people like him to embrace athletically challenging video games. There’s no need to leave the house to get exercise, which is especially helpful in the winter, and the costs associated with the gaming console are ultimately much lower than a gym membership would be. Though it isn’t an option that will appeal to everyone, seniors looking for a new form of recreation would do well to consider looking into Wii bowling and other physically active video games.