Wii - a fun workout for seniors | March 27, 2009 | Danville Express | DanvilleSanRamon.com |


Danville Express

Living - March 27, 2009

Wii - a fun workout for seniors

Danville Senior Center offers new slant on old athletic endeavors

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Marjorie Smith-Meyers draws back her arm slowly and evenly, eyes fastened on the bowling pins at the end of the lane. Then she swings her body and arm forward, hand grasping a remote control. All 10 pins fall for a strike.

Whee! Or, more precisely, Wii.

Nintendo's Wii game system simulates athletic contests that are normally played outside the home on golf courses and tennis courts, and in boxing rings and bowling alleys. There's no heavy lifting involved but the sports nonetheless take concentration and coordination.

Wii is a regular feature on Friday morning at the Town of Danville's Senior Center. Tournaments are staged often, and practice play is held from 10 a.m.-noon each Friday.

Smith-Meyers is a Friday regular with her friend Lucille Burnham and Burnham's daughter, Stacey Daviess.

"It's great for working on their coordination," said Daviess, who also has Wii at home for her family.

Smith-Meyers said the exercise has helped her recover her balance and coordination after suffering a stroke.

Another enthusiast is Danville resident Mary Lovelock, who just retired from the Alameda Housing Authority.

"When you can't get out and do the real sports, it's the next best thing," said Lovelock.

"It can be a workout," she noted. "Boxing takes a lot of 'oomph' if you really get into it."

Wii came on the market in the fall of 2006, about five years after the concept surfaced. A player holds a remote control to simulate action and interacts with the activity on the television screen. Wii caught on quickly with kids and families since it can be enjoyed by all ages.

About a year ago, the town purchased its Wii system, which has tennis, golf, bowling and boxing. Senior Services scheduled it for Friday mornings at the Veterans Memorial Building where senior programs are held.

"It's the only time we have available because we are so busy," said Jenn Overmoe, of Senior Services. "A lot of people come back every week to play it. We give them quick instructions on a game and, hopefully, there is someone to play with them. If not, they can play against the computer."

"The graphics are so great that you really feel you're part of it," said Lovelock. "I 'bowl' just as if I'm bowling."

She also has played tennis and golf and bowled in "real life."

"Now I have a bad knee, which is why I can't participate in the big sports," she said. "With Wii, I can pace myself better."

"My favorite is probably tennis, it has more of a variety," Lovelock said, "but I'm probably best at bowling."

Lovelock likes the camaraderie of the participants as they relax on the comfortable couches and enjoy a cup of coffee and encourage each other.

And, she admits, they do get competitive. Once, after Lucille Burnham beat her in bowling, they engaged in a boxing match.

"I knocked her out," said Lovelock, laughing at the memory.

Wii tournament

The next Wii Tournament will be boxing, 10-a.m.-noon, Friday, April 10. Call to reserve a spot or for more information at 314-3490.


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