The findings "let us know that the older adults felt more enthusiastic and rejuvenated, in better psychological shape than when they started," he said. "They even felt a little bit younger, like they were kids again."
Some of the seniors found it challenging at first to throw the bowling ball using the controller, but they figured it out, Willoughby said.
"Some were really getting into it. They were recruiting their friends and trying to play tournaments," Willoughby said. They also said things like "I got a strike and you got a gutter ball," he added. "They were trash-talking each other."
In the other study, DiRico and her colleagues monitored the bodies of 13 college students as they played one of three Wii games -- boxing, tennis or aerobics -- for 10 minutes after learning how to play.
The aerobics and tennis games provided light intensity exercise, which may not mean much, especially if a person was already fit, said DiRico, who works for a WellPoint health benefits company fitness center. But the boxing game provided more of an exercise boost, equivalent to a light jog, she said.
Players may find the games more fun and stimulating than other forms of exercise, DiRico said. But the games should be seen as the beginning of an exercise program, not the end point, she said.
The study results were presented last month at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, in Seattle.
Learn more about fitness from the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
SOURCES: Lucas A. Willoughby, former graduate student, University of West Florida, Pensacola; Elizabeth DiRico, exercise physiologist, WellPoint Inc., Mason, Ohio; American College of Sports M
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