Feasibility of Wii Fit training to improve clinical measures of balance in older adults
Kathleen A Bieryla, Neil M Dold
Biomedical Engineering Department, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, USA
Background and purpose: Numerous interventions have been proposed to improve balance in older adults with varying degrees of success. A novel approach may be to use an off-the-shelf video game system utilizing real-time force feedback to train older adults. The purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility of using Nintendo's Wii Fit for training to improve clinical measures of balance in older adults and to retain the improvements after a period of time.
Methods: Twelve healthy older adults (aged >70 years) were randomly divided into two groups. The experimental group completed training using Nintendo's Wii Fit game three times a week for 3 weeks while the control group continued with normal activities. Four clinical measures of balance were assessed before training, 1 week after training, and 1 month after training: Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Fullerton Advanced Balance (FAB) scale, Functional Reach (FR), and Timed Up and Go (TUG). Friedman two-way analysis of variance by ranks was conducted on the control and experimental group to determine if training using the Wii Balance Board with Wii Fit had an influence on clinical measures of balance.
Results: Nine older adults completed the study (experimental group n = 4, control group n = 5). The experimental group significantly increased their BBS after training while the control group did not. There was no significant change for either group with FAB, FR, and TUG.
Conclusion: Balance training with Nintendo's Wii Fit may be a novel way for older adults to improve balance as measured by the BBS.
Keywords: older adults, balance, training
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