Background: The Nintendo Wii Fit is a new product that is purported to improve balance, strength, flexibility, fitness and general well-being. Currently, there are no controlled trials published to support such claims.
Aim: The aim of this research was to determine the feasibility of Wii Fit in improving balance, strength, flexibility and fitness for healthy women aged between 30 and 60 years.
Method: Ten women aged 30-58 years were recruited to the study. Intervention involved a 30-min session, twice weekly for 10 weeks. The manufacturer's pre-programmed Wii Fit regime determined for age and physical ability was followed. All women were assessed before and after the 10 weeks' intervention. Demographic information collected included age, weight, and self-reported information related to habitual physical activity, regular medication, hormone replacement therapy and well-being. Balance measures included the modified Clinical Test for Sensory Integration of Balance, reaction time and unilateral stance with velocity of sway recorded. Clinical measures of balance and mobility included the Step Test, the timed Up & Go test (TUG) and the TUG(cognitive). Somatosensory testing included touch, vibration and knee-joint re-positioning ability; ankle flexibility and the muscle strengths of quadriceps, hip abductors and adductors were also measured. Cardiovascular fitness was measured using a 6-min walk test.
Results: Balance (unilateral stance, eyes open (p < 0.05) and lower limb muscle strength (p < 0.05) showed significant improvement but changes in touch, vibration, proprioception, cardiovascular endurance, mobility, weight change, activity level and well-being were not significant.
Conclusion: Activity fostered by Wii Fit showed an immediate effect on balance and strength that needs confirmation by statistically powered studies.