Are You Fit For Wii?
Gary W. Misamore M.D.
Video games are no longer just for kids. When Nintendo first introduced the Wii in 2006, all ages were getting into games such as MarioKart, WiiSports and Sing It. Now there’s Wii Fit, which provides a variety of games for fitness and fun such as bowling, tennis, golf, yoga, aerobics and boxing. The Wii and Wii Fit does not replace true physical exercise such as throwing a football in the back yard or taking a 30-minute brisk walk or run, but it can enhance activity.
According to the Health & Wellness section of associatedcontent.com, while these games can improve exercise for those who are inactive or need physical therapy, it can cause injuries if not used properly. Some injuries include muscle strains and rotator cuff or shoulder damage. Most injuries from the Wii Fit are overuse injuries.
Here are some pointers when using the Wii and Wii Fit and how to avoid injuries:
• Stretch before your workout – As with any exercise routine, it is important to stretch before play Wii games. Stretching for approximately eight to ten minutes warms up your muscles and prepares them for play. A majority of the Wii games involve rotating the shoulder. Range-of-motion exercises will keep the shoulder muscles loose.
• Take 15-minute breaks – Just as you would take breaks during physical exercise and sports practice, remember to take 15-minute breaks when playing games on the Wii and Wii Fit. Since overuse injuries are so common, taking breaks will give your muscles a rest and help deter injuries.
• Know your physical limitations – Yes, the Wii is a game, but with any physical involvement, you need to know your limitations. If you feel pain or discomfort in your arm or shoulder, stop playing.
• Read the game warnings – The Wii instruction manual gives advice for use and warns of muscle and joint pain that can be caused by the games. Take a good look at these warnings before starting play to make sure you use proper techniques to avoid shoulder injuries.
It’s important to remember to check with your doctor before you start any exercise routine and ease into something new. If an injury does occur, speak with an orthopedic physician to identify a treatment option that fits your unique injury and individual lifestyle.