Can playing computer games be good for older people’s health?

One third of people over 65 will suffer a fall at some point and this figure rises to one half for people over the age of 85. Falls frequently lead to severe injuries and the problem is expected to increase as the UK’s population ages.

Certain physical exercises can prevent falls by at least 40%, but many older people find it difficult to maintain activity at the levels needed. So to get older people to do their exercises properly Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust has been testing out a series of computer games called Exergames that make staying active more fun.

Exercise can be fun
Exercise can be fun

The Exergames are played using a Microsoft Kinect sensor to monitor body movements. They can be programmed by doctors to suit an individual’s ability, and include activities such as squatting to control the movement of objects on a TV or computer screen.
Playing Super Mario on your Wii might take on a whole different meaning in the future.