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gaming grandpa


gaming grandpa

For over 40 years Nintendo has been making video games and since 2006 when Nintendo released the home video game console, “Wii”, many studies have been done on gaming and it’s physical and mental benefits in the elderly.  Along with it’s successor, “Wii U”, released in 2013, it has shown to be both entertaining and beneficial. Studies have shown that gaming can have many benefits .

The percentage of U.S. gamers who are over age 50 has increased rapidly, from just 9 percent in 1999 to 27 percent in 2015, according to the Entertainment Software Association’s annual reports.These numbers may seem big, but they are just the tip of an enormous iceberg.  Though playing video games is not typically seen as something that older adults do, there is academic literature that discusses its many benefits: it activates the mind and body, and it facilitates social connected-ness.

If  a healthy person aged 65 or older would play a video games today. They would be  recommended  to  exercise their wits by trying to reach legendary rank in Hearthstone, get an occasional workout in with the HTC Vive, keep their fingers nimble by casually playing Super Smash Bros. with my retired peers, keep an active online social life by leading a guild of older players in The Secret World, and eat up every great new indie game that came out (such as Her Story or Papers, Please).

Both Nintendo “Wii” and “Wii U” use arm and body motions to control the game. Games such  as boxing, soccer, snowboarding and skiing have shown to improve muscle strength, balance and coordination. According to the American Heart Association, which endorses the “Wii Fit” game, playing at least three days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease and even certain cancers.


Some other benefits include:

  • Increases cardiovascular endurance
  • Reaction time
  • Agility
  • Fine and gross motor control
  • Balance and weight transfer
  • Sensory perception
  • Range of Motion (ROM)

As grandpa is playing with all the kids, he will be increasing his hand-eye coordination and hand mobility. This  will in turn relieve joint and muscular pain; all while having fun doing it.

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