By Saskia Tjahja
Seniors Exergaming, an exercise program offered by Melville Digital Hub, is working to improve the health of senior citizens in the City of Melville.
The program is powered by Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox and offers a variety of motion-based exercises and interactive online games to dance to music, play virtual sports such as bowling and tennis – all to keep seniors engaged in physical activity.
Kris Metcher, presenter of the Seniors’ Exergaming class in Melville’s AH Bracks Library, said the most important part is that the seniors are having fun while engaging in health and fitness at the same time.
“Exergaming is a great way to get active,” Kris said, “The participants always feel challenged to do better and see progress in their own physical wellbeing.”
Using the Kinect, a projector device with motion-sensing capabilities, the seniors participating in Exergaming engage in strength, flexibility and balance training by using body movements to simulate actions used in playing the actual sport, such as swinging their arm like throwing a bowling ball.
Melville Digital Hub and City of Melville Libraries suggests combining game play with exercise can improve the health of senior citizens, increase social interaction, and enhance their quality of life.
Some of the benefits of the Exergaming program are evident in the individual stories of seniors who took part in this morning’s session.
“I used to fall a lot,” regular participant Mrs Rita Dutka said, “but ever since I played, there’s been a big improvement in my balance.”
Another regular Ms Joan Muir said: “It’s something that I think would be great to be introduced in nursing homes, because it’s fun, engaging and social.”
“It’s not only entertaining, it is also physically and mentally stimulating,” Ms Muir said.
You can learn more about Melville’s Seniors Exergaming here