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Physio warm-up helps gamers get the most out of the Wii

Top tips from the CSP to help players avoid injury and get maximum benefit from their Nintendo Wii

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) says it is important for users of the Nintendo Wii to appreciate that many of the games simulate sport and count as genuine exercise.

Physiotherapists encourage the use of games consoles that motivate players to get up from the sofa and become more active – especially for people who are not usually interested in participating in sport. Playing virtual games like tennis or boxing will contribute to the 30 minutes of exercise you should aim for each day.

However, people who aren't used to physical activity are launching themselves into demanding workouts with the Wii and finding themselves faced with injuries. Chartered physiotherapist Sammy Margo says that people should take the sports-based games on the Wii as seriously as if they were doing normal sport and should do appropriate warm-up and cool-down exercises.

Sammy gives players five top tips to help avoid any unnecessary injuries while using the Wii:

  • Shoulders: To loosen up before you start playing, stand evenly on two feet and roll your shoulders backwards ten times.

  • Neck: To loosen your neck, take your left ear to your left shoulder until you can just feel a pull on the right side of your neck. Do the same on the other side. Take your chin to your chest until you feel a slight pull at the back of your neck. Tip your head backwards so you’re looking at the ceiling. Hold each of these stretches for five seconds and repeat three times.

  • Back: To limber up your lower back, stand with your feet hip-width apart and circle your hips five times clockwise and five times anticlockwise. Clench your buttocks ten times and pull in your stomach muscles ten times.

  • Wrists: Hold your left arm out in front of you and point your fingers to the ceiling, with your right hand pull your left hand backwards until you feel a stretch on the front of your wrist. Without rotating your arm, point your fingers downwards and with your right hand push your hand down until you feel the stretch in the back of your wrist. Then swap hands. Pay special attention to the hand you use most to play the Wii.

  • Digital dexterity: Fingers and thumbs can be used a lot with console controllers so making sure they are ready for quick action is really important to ensure you’re playing to your best ability and to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Clench and open your fist ten times. Do this on both hands to increase circulation.

If you experience pain or discomfort as a result of any of these exercises, stop immediately. If you do get injured or are concerned about using the Nintendo Wii because of an existing injury, consult a physiotherapist. Find a local physio via our physio2u listing service.

Notes to editors

  1. For more information, please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 6628/6616/6163. Out of hours call Becky Darke on 07900 160349.

  2. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 49,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants. See previous releases on this website:

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