The world has come a long way since the original video game, Pong, was introduced. The tennis-type game with a special attachment for your television didn’t do a whole lot to stimulate your brain, but you did improve your hand-eye coordination. When Pong was introduced, baby boomers were in grade or high school.
Boomers watched their children get mesmerized in front of Donkey Kong, Pac Man, and later Nintendo systems. The parents were seeing the video games as a waste of time, and something that would divert their children’s attention and keep them inside instead of outside doing physical activities. They were right, but everyone was doing it.
Much has changed in the realm of video games in the last couple of decades. While health and government are worried about the rising rate of obese children who sit behind their video screens instead of doing physical activities (just like the Boomers said), gaming systems have advanced and addressed that issue. The Wii system came out and got kids, and their parents, active while playing the games. As an added bonus, scientists have found that they interactive systems are also beneficial to the brain and retaining memory.
Just as scientists found decades ago, video games do improve eye-hand coordination. They are now looking at these activities as a brain exercise, a way to work different areas of the brain at the same time. In addition, they increase concentration and focus, and improve self-image and the competitive spirit.
Traditionally, video games have been a physically stagnant activity that you did while munching on junk food and drinking soda pop. Now, with the Wii, games are interactive and you have to actually get up and move in order for them to work. As an added bonus to memory increase and physical fitness, parents and grandparents are also getting in on the action and there is more family interaction as well.
Wii does not provide high tech graphics, violence, blood or death in their games, which are different than Playstation or Xbox systems. The games are family oriented in the Wii library, and can be geared for different ages. With these games you are not just exercising your fingers and eyes; you are up and involved. With the bowling game you actually turn your game room into a bowling alley, aiming the controller toward the screen as the ball rolls down the alley on screen. If you curve your hand you curve your ball. It really does give you a workout!
The Wii can be used as a fun way to get physically and mentally healthy. It’s so good that many school systems throughout the country have started to utilize the gaming system in order to increase activity level and heart rate. Hospitals and nursing homes have joined into the idea by implement the games as a part of low impact and strength training exercises for rehabilitation patients, as well as brain games such as Big Brain Academy. This game increases memory through math, logic, visual recognition and strategies, and can be played alone or with a group. You get so involved with the fun you don’t realize you are working your brain.
The Wii version of Trivial Pursuit, Smarty Pants, is a brain game geared for teams of players, so it makes for a great family and party game, testing your knowledge of such categories as current events, pop culture, history and sports. What makes it different from board games like Trivial Pursuit is that they throw in a dance off or tug of war to keep things active and exciting!
Older people tend to slow down and let their bodies go. In order to keep their heart pumping they need to get more exercise. Keeping the brain sharp also includes keeping the body healthy and active. For those who get up and go got up and went, stimulating all the muscles in the body, including the brain, can help a person live a longer and more productive life.
The Nintendo Wii is more than just a game system. It supports physical activity, family bonding, learning, and healthy living. On the days when the weather is bad, and you can’t get out and enjoy the outdoors, a heart-pumping game of Wii will get your brain, and your body, revved up and ready to go. Think about it family togetherness and games that everyone wants to get into. Sounds like an all-around program to me!
About the author:
Ron White is a memory training expert.
Top Ten Wii Games – http://top-ten-wii-games.com/
6 Essential Wii Games to Sharpen Your Mind and Memory – http://playwithyourmind.com/games-and-puzzles/6-essential-wii-games-to-sharpen-your-mind-and-memory/
50 Games That Will Improve Your Health and Wellness – http://www.nursingassistantcentral.com/blog/2008/50-games-that-will-improve-your-health-and-wellness/