Here is the last post from my student, Kelley Buckman SPT
I’m sure lately you have heard a lot about the Wii Fit and many of you probably own the program yourselves. The Nintendo Wii has been a hot topic in physical therapy research and treatment in the last few years and many clinics are incorporating the Wii game system into their treatment plans. The Wii Fit comes with a balance board and it includes games in the following categories: Yoga, Strength Training, Balance, and Aerobics. All of the games are great for staying active, but today I am going to talk specifically about Wii Yoga.
As mentioned in my last post, yoga has been increasing in popularity in recent years and it has been shown to help improve balance. The Wii Fit’s yoga program includes poses ranging from beginner level to advanced level. One advantage of doing yoga on the Wii Fit, as opposed to a video or a class, is that you can choose which poses to do and which ones not to do without having to fast forward through a video or wait while the rest of the class does a pose that you cannot do. Being able to choose which poses to do makes the workout more tailored to you!
For beginners, it is best to start with poses that don’t require you to stand on one leg, especially if you are unsure of your ability to balance on one leg. It is good to start off with the first pose, deep breathing, just to see how steady you are on your feet. If you find this pose easy, move onto other double leg support poses like the Warrior, Sun Salutation, and Chair poses. All of these poses are good for stretching and strengthening, as well as improving balance.
Once you start doing yoga regularly and building strength, move onto poses that require you to stand on one leg. Always make sure that you have something to grab onto if needed when doing the single leg poses. Single leg poses are a great way to strengthen the legs and improve balance! Some of my favorite single leg poses are the Tree, Standing Knee, and Dance poses.
A few other nice features about Wii Yoga are that it tells you how many calories you burn with each pose, it can track your progress, and it tells you the MET level of each pose. MET stands for Metabolic Equivalence of Task, basically just a measure of how hard an activity is. The higher the MET level of a pose, the more energy it requires and the harder the body is working.
Overall, the Wii Fit, and specifically Wii Yoga, can be great additions to any exercise program. If you are looking to build strength and improve posture and balance, yoga can be especially beneficial. Always remember to ease into any new workout and talk to your physician before beginning.
Kelley Buckman SPT