Benefits of video games

Video games tend to be associated with laziness, isolation and pre-teens and are rarely known to improve lifestyles, communication and mobility for people over 50. But it turns out this may not be entirely true.

A recent study through Australia’s La Trobe University’s School of Public Health found that Nintendo Wii benefits the social and emotional well-being of older women.

Dennis Wollersheim conducted a 12-week study on women aged 56-84 who attended a planned activity group (PAG) at Melbourne suburbs. The area has an ageing population with an increase in chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to a La Trobe statement.

"Older persons are at risk of isolation and have low levels of physical activity, both of which are associated with negative health outcomes," says Wollersheim.

"In this study, we explored the feasibility of incorporating Nintendo Wii (video game console) into a PAG setting to assess the physical and psychosocial effects," says Wollersheim.

The first six weeks were spent measuring the women’s physical exertion through normal activities like drinking tea, eating snacks, selling lottery tickets and walking to the canteen. The second half of the study measured the women’s oxygen levels and metabolic rate.

"Participants perceived a greater sense of physical well-being through the physical output of the games," says Wollersheim.

Many of the women noted that being more technologically adept allowed them to be more connected to their grandchildren, says Wollersheim. — IANS