May 16, 2011

Wii Helps COPD Patients Breathe Easier

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Wii Fit can offer patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) an effective workout, and is more likely to be used because it's enjoyable, according to a study.

"Our study showed that COPD patients exercised at a relatively high percent of their maximum during three to five minutes of specified Wii Fit exercises, indicating the Wii Fit may be a reasonable home-based exercise regimen for COPD patients," Jeffery Albores, MD, Internal Medicine Resident, University of Connecticut, was quoted as saying.

Regular exercise benefits COPD patients by increasing overall muscle tone and improving cardipulmonary fitness. However, getting patients to exercise daily at home can be challenging. Wii Fit provides patients with an enjoyable way to exercise, and may  help motivate them to exercise regularly, Dr. Albores said.

Wii Fit was introduced by Nintendo is 2007 and includes a variety of exercises, including yoga, balance and strength training exercise, and aerobic activities. Reserachers evaluated the ability of the Wii Fit to offer COPD patients a viable and effective option for exercise in the home.

The study found that COPD patients performed at 60 to 70 percent of their maximum during three to five minutes of specified Wii Fit exercises. "This is comparable to what we would expect to see with relatively low-intensity calisthenics," Dr. Albores said.

"The video game systerm will provide COPD patients an adjunct to pulmonary rehabilitation by performing these interactive activity-promoting video game exercises in the home setting," Dr. Albores noted. "However, further studies are nexessary to determine the safety, adherence and effectiveness of the Wii Fir exercise in COPD patients."

SOURCE: ATS International Conference Held in Denver, CO on May 13, 2011