Wii Fit Boosts Rehabilitation Exercises

Injured athletes may find themselves playing Nintendo’s Wii Fit as part of their rehabilitation, said Sue Stanley-Green, a professor of athletic training at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Wii Fit video games that have the user perform lower-body balance and weight-shifting activities could gradually help patients with weight-bearing rehabilitation after an injury or surgery.

“We are looking to incorporate Wii Fit into the athletic training room as far as rehabilitation, for example, on post-operative knees and ankles,” she said.

Fitness video games that focus on upper body movement patterns could be helpful in the rehab center as well. Tennis video games, for instance, can be used to safely exercise the rotator cuff after injury or repair.

“Fitness-oriented video games are also being used more and more in nursing homes for rehabilitation,” Stanley-Green said.

Demand for the new fitness game has spurred thousands to buy the Wii, Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America. “We are back to a significant out-of-stock situation on Wii hardware,” he said.

Nintendo recently began ramping up its output of Wii consoles, to 2.4 million units a month from 1.8 million. That’s the fourth production increase since the console launched in November 2006. The increased supply is just now starting to trickle into retail pipelines, Fils-Aime said. However, the factories won’t be at full capacity until later this summer.