media release

How Wii exercise – study targets women over 40

June 06, 2011
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Contact:
Lorna Boschman, 778.321.7951; lornab@sfu.ca
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.3210/9017; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca


A new Simon Fraser University study will gauge how women over 40 years of age use exercise games or videos and what role they play in improving fitness.

Lorna Boschman, a doctoral student in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU Surrey hopes to involve 40 women in her research, being carried out over the next several months at Britannia Community Services Centre in east Vancouver.

Participants are women who typically use exer-games. They’ll have the option of joining in a new fitness routine at the centre, where they can work with a personal trainer, or continuing to work out at home, and joining the group for fitness testing on Saturdays.

There are still openings for participants, especially for women who already have an exer-gaming system at home.

“Commercially available fitness games are promoted as one way to work out at home in short bursts of time,” says Boschman, who has published several papers with early results of her research. “Fitness games like Wii Fit Plus or newer systems like the Xbox 360 Kinect give us a chance to exercise in the privacy of our own homes – but do these games collect dust after a week or two of exploration?”

Boschman says often women in the over-40 age group don’t exercise frequently or vigorously enough. “Many community centres are purchasing the Wii system, and we’ve developed strategies that encourage participants to get a good workout – especially using balance and aerobic games,” she adds.

Women in the study will be compared according to their ages and whether they use an exer-game at home or with the group for 30-45 minute workouts on Saturday mornings.

Not surprisingly, her earlier studies found retired women had more time to exercise and those already more physically active use the exer-games more frequently than those less active. The most dramatic improvements in aerobic endurance occur when a previously sedentary woman becomes more physically active.

However when it comes to competition, Boschman has found that while women like to improve their own score and get to higher levels they’re not keen on the type of behaviour that a competitive situation brings out in themselves and others.

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