The emerging popularity of the Wii Fit gaming system over the past year has brought about the question as to whether such a system actually has a therapeutic application or not. I have only played with one once and found it to be quite challenging, especially the balance components. Based on my limited experience, my conclusion is that the Wii could provided a real improvement in functional balance.
I can now offer a more definitive answer thanks to a research article recently published in the January 2010 issue of Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy
. The article is titled, "Effects of a Wobble Board-Based Therapeutic Exergaming System for Balance Training on Dynamic Postural Stability and Intrinsic Motivation Levels."
The idea of the study was to determine if such video game-based balance activities would improve a patient's willingness to perform such tasks at home and thus yield the desired improved balance. Essentially the end result was that exercise-based video games that incorporate balance, like the Wii Fit board, did yield an improvement in dynamic postural stability. Even better, the subjects had more fun while doing it!!