I'm not generally a fan of video games (I won't let me son play them) -- since they can sometimes promote an sedentary lifestyle that's not ideal for bone health.
But I've recently learned that the nursing home where my grandmother lives uses a Wii system to encourage physical activity among its residents. With the guidance of the activities personnel, the patients -- many of whom are in wheelchairs -- can play games such as "bowling." In the challenge to get a strike or a spare, they're having too much fun to notice they're stretching and lifting their arms, and doing other beneficial movements.
I'm still skeptical about overindulgence in virtual sports when one has the capacity to do the real thing. But if one doesn't -- whether weakened by osteoporosis or another cause -- the Wii and games like it offer an interesting alternative.
Published On: February 25, 2008