Xbox Kinect and the Connection to Senior Health

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Xbox Kinect and the Connection to Senior Health

by SarahD on September 22, 2011

Elderly Gamers and the XBox Kinect

Seniors across the country have spent the past few decades decrying the rise of video games as a children’s pastime, but the latest innovation in video game technology just may be a perfect fit for the elderly community. The newly introduced Xbox Kinect gaming system, which is an addition to the existing Xbox platform, utilizes cutting edge sensors and visual computing to provide a motion-based gaming experience. Players using Xbox Kinect wield handheld controls which require actual movements on the part of the player rather than the simple button clicking of old. These new controls enable players to physically interact with their game, which means that beating an opponent at virtual tennis will require a fluid backhand and quick step. The advent of the Xbox Kinect gaming system, while ostensibly designed for a younger audience, has quickly caught on with senior citizens and now video games are considered to be among the most therapeutic and physically beneficial components of senior care.

The Xbox Kinect technology relies on a network of tiny microphones and cameras to capture a player’s image and integrate it into the gameplay. The introductory Kinect Adventures game which comes packaged with the Xbox Kinect system provides players with a series of sports based games which encourage physical activity. Seniors have quickly begun flocking to Xbox Kinect because these games allow them to recapture the thrill of physical competition in an entertaining and empowering way. Grandmothers who used to spend the weekend bowling with their friends can now gather around the television and hit the virtual lanes. The Dance Central game is another Xbox Kinect staple which has become a hit with seniors. This game gives senior citizens a chance to relive their youth and hit the dance floor, cutting a rug from the comfort of their own living room. Perhaps the best game for senior citizens available on Xbox Kinect is called Your Shape. This perfectly designed and visually appealing game provides seniors with the opportunity to learn new physical fitness techniques like kickboxing, tai chi and yoga. This game tracks player’s exercise over weeks, months and even years, while also recording calorie loss and other useful information about a senior’s exercise routine.

The latest research on senior healthcare has consistently shown that an interactive menu of challenging games like that offered by Xbox Kinect is highly beneficial for senior’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. A rousing night of Xbox Kinect gaming with fellow seniors is the perfect opportunity to meet new friends and develop healthy emotional bonds. Furthermore, these physically based games encourage seniors to exercise regularly and maintain an active lifestyle. Many elderly individuals would love to play sports and games the old fashioned way, but debilitating illness or simple aches and pains prevent them from doing so. Seniors who engage in interactive gaming like that found on the Xbox Kinect system have been found to be happier and more satisfied with their lives because they can take full advantage of the world around them.

Sarah Danielson writes for Download Games Free where you can find the bus driver game and many others.

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