Want to work on your balance? Dust off that old Wii Fit!

About a decade ago, Nintendo took the video game world by storm when it introduced the Wii system. It quickly became a popular gift for many years. It seemed like everyone had one. Chances are good you tried Wii Bowling or Wii Tennis at a holiday party.

The Wii Fit, with a balance board, added a whole new selection of fun games, many of which can help improve strength and balance. Several studies have looked how playing the Wii can help older adults with balance problems. The results were promising. You can read more in this systematic review.

In our clinics, we often incorporate the Wii in our physical therapy treatments because of the therapeutic benefits. You can see on the screen how you are moving, causing your brain to tell your body to react and try to balance accordingly. Over time, this can help improve how your body reacts to other balance challenges in daily life.

If you are looking for a way to fine tune your balance and you happen to have a Wii Fit tucked away in the basement, why not dust it off and give it a try? Don’t have one? Ask around: Most likely one of your friends or family members has one they could lend you.

Before you begin, set yourself up for safety. Put a chair in front, and make sure you have some room around you to move a little bit.

When you go to the Wii menu, you’ll find a list that includes balance games and yoga. The Penguin Slide and Tilt Table are good ones to start with, as well as the tightrope and skiing games. The Warrior is a great introductory yoga pose to try. The balance board senses how your weight is distributed, and the screen will show you how you need to change it to be centered for good form.

If you have serious balance problems or dizziness, talk to your doctor. You may benefit from a specialized type of physical therapy called vestibular therapy. The National Dizzy & Balance Center offers this type of treatment at our four Twin Cities area locations.  Make an appointment today!