Parkinson's and the Wii
Through our research, we're hearing
of more and more people with Parkinson's
who find the Nintendo Wii games console of particular benefit to
Exercise can help people with
Parkinson's to control movements, improve balance and improve their
Read about the experiences of people
with Parkinson's using the Wii.
How does the Wii help people with Parkinson's?
As well as being fun and convenient, the Wii has the ability to
help people improve their movement, not just fitness.
We did a short survey of around 100 people with Parkinson's
who use the Wii.
Image right: Buz Williams using the Nintendo Wii at the
World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow
Two thirds felt that using the Wii helps them manage their
They also reported:
- an improvement in their balance, which helps prevent falls that
are common with Parkinson's
- that it's more convenient than going to the gym and some people
don't feel confident in that environment
- that you can track your progress through the exercises, which
helps keep you motivated
- that the social side of using the Wii with family and friends,
combined with the adrenaline, really helps improve mood and combat
the anxiety and depression that many
people with Parkinson's experience
Who does the Wii work best for?
The Wii is interesting because of its ability to improve motor skills, not just fitness.
Dr Kieran Breen, Director of Research
Different people experience a range of Parkinson's symptoms so
it's difficult to say who the Wii works best for.
We will have a better idea of this once our research is
How many people with Parkinson's use the Wii?
We're aware that there are a growing number of people with
Parkinson's using the Wii both for exercise and for fun, but we
don't have an exact figure.
Can it be used as a tool to measure and keep track of
No, the Wii
can be used to help people to exercise, to keep them moving and
also enjoy themselves with family or friends.
The scores given by the Wii do not not reflect a person's
symptoms, only their ability to play that particular game. So it
can't tell you how the condition is progressing. And this is a very
The Wii should not be considered as a substitution for medication, physiotherapy or other therapies.
It should not be seen as a substitute for regular medical
Image left: John, who has Parkinson's, using the
Nintendo Wii at home
Can you guide people with Parkinson's on how to start using
There is no formal guide. We suggest that you start off by
trying out different games, have fun with family and friends and
see what works best for you as an individual. The main thing is to
not overdo it and be aware of your own abilities.
Read our guidelines for using the Wii
Fit before you get started.
If you have Parkinson's and feel you need further guidance you
can speak to your physiotherapist, Parkinson's nurse, GP or consultant.
Also in this section
For a full exercise routine created specifically for people with
Parkinson's take a look at our Keeping
Moving - Exercise and Parkinson's booklet and DVD.