Video: Pensioners use Wii to stay in shape

IPSWICH: A group of gaming grandparents are turning to a rather less traditional pastime in the pursuit of health and vitality.

IPSWICH: A group of gaming grandparents are turning to a rather less traditional pastime in the pursuit of health and vitality.

For the members of the Foxhall Day Care Centre, swimming and bowls have been taking a backseat of late - in favour of a Nintendo Wii Fit.

The new console has been taking the pensioners into a virtual reality of tenpin bowling, golf, Tai Chi and fitness classes - a world away from the games they played as children.

Great-grandmother Kathleen Emanuel has proved a real mover after putting her hips into the hula hoop exercises.

The 89-year-old, who visits Age Concern Suffolk's centre in Parliament Road every Thursday, said: “I used to play marbles not computers.

“We usually play bingo, do flower arranging and cookery here, but this will give us something different.”

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Norman Ruffles, who showed he was a dab hand at the tenpin bowling, added: “Even at the age of 96, I found it interesting. I'm willing to have a go and it makes a nice change from the routine.

“It gets people interested in other things rather than just sitting there twiddling their thumbs.”

The console, software and a Wii Fit board were donated to the centre by the Carphone Warehouse in Ipswich on Thursday.

Members were given a demonstration by one of the company's Geek Squad and then given the chance to try it out themselves.

It is hoped the technology will unlock new ways of keeping the older generation agile as the games can simulate many exercises from Yoga to something more strenuous like snowboarding.

Abi Jones, deputy manager of the Foxhall Day Centre, said: “Our members love keeping active. This is a really innovative way to help our members interact and keep fit.”

Dave Marcer, store manager of the Carphone Warehouse, said: “Age should not be a barrier. Our aim is to break down those walls and make gadgets simple for everyone.”

Should more people use computers to keep active? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

1,830 - the average amount of calories burnt a week by children using the Wii console (based on a 12.2hour average gaming week).

130 - heart beats per minute children can reach while playing the Wii, compared with 83 beats a minute when playing sedentary games.

27lb - the weight loss you could achieve over a year by playing Wii Sports for 12.2 hours a week.

SOURCE: Figures taken from a study by Liverpool John Moores University.

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