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Wii Fit Exercises May Help COPD Patients

Wii Workouts May Help Patients Improve Muscle Tone, Fitness, Researchers Say
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Exercise Aids Hearts and Lungs of COPD Patients continued...

“In order for exercise to be sustained in the long-term, the type of exercise should be agreeable to the patient,” Albores says. “In this study, we aimed to find out the level of intensity of the Wii Fit exercises in patients with COPD.”

The Nintendo Wii Fit interactive device was introduced in 2007 and includes exercise activities and games, including yoga, balance and strength training activities, and aerobic workouts.

The results of the study were encouraging.

Albores says preliminary data indicate that COPD patients “performed at 60% to 70% of their maximum during three to five minutes of specified Wii Fit exercises, reflecting a relatively high percent of their maximum. This is comparable to what we would expect to see with relatively low-intensity classroom calisthenics.”

The study also found that lower-extremity Wii Fit exercises approximated 70% to 80% of the benefit for low-intensity upper extremity exercises, and 50% to 60% of for upper-extremity exercises.

“Because the lower extremities have bigger muscle groups, they approximate a higher percentage of the maximal values as compared to the upper extremities,” Albores says.

The Wii Fit offers exercise options that are similar to those available in traditional rehabilitation centers, but Albores says more research is needed to determine if it increases a patient’s willingness to perform regular workouts at home.

“The video game system will provide COPD patients an adjunct to pulmonary rehabilitation by performing these interactive activity-promoting video game exercises in the home setting,” he says. “However, further studies are necessary to determine safety, adherence, and effectiveness of the Wii Fit exercises in COPD patients.”

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