A business analyst who was struck down with debilitating Parkinson’s disease has overcome her symptoms – by using the Nintendo Wii.
High-flying Jo Collinge, 48, was diagnosed with the disease disease 18 months ago after her shakes and sleeplessness were originally blamed on executive stress.
The trembles in her right leg became so bad she could not walk across her daughter’s school playground.
She began using her childrens’ Wii Fit shortly after and says the programme has ”massively improved” her symptoms.
Mother-of-two Jo now uses the Wii for 45 minutes every day and has designed her own work out using the slalom, step, hula hooping, yoga and even BOXING games.
She said: ”When I got the diagnosis it was a terrible shock. I had been hoping they would tell me there was nothing wrong but they said I had Parkinson’s, which is incurable.
”I started using the Wii of my own accord, because exercise improves the condition, and I have really noticed a difference.
”I can now do a lot of things again which I could not do before. I have become far more nimble and can walk much further than before.
”The boxing game has really improved my shoulder and I feel more confident on my feet. It’s great because I can do it when I feel up to it and in my own home.”
Jo first used the Wii two years ago when her and husband Tim, 52, a self-employed plumber, bought it as a Christmas gift for their daughters Tegan, 11 and Amelia, six.
She has devised a 30-45 minutes work out – which she tries to do every day – that comprises of a slalom warm up, step class, hula-hoop work out and yoga cool down.
Her family, who live in Milton Lilbourne, Wilts., often play on the games console together as evening entertainment and particularly enjoy playing each other at bowling and tennis.
Jo, who is now in the process of becoming medically retired from her job with a city bank because of her condition, said the Wii had also helps her to stay positive.
She said: ”I would recommend it to anyone suffering with Parkinson’s. Everyone has different symptoms but this works for me.
”Another symptom of Parkinson’s is depression and I find that using the Wii keeps me positive and active.”
A spokesman for Parkinson’s UK said the charity had given a grant of £35,000 to Queen’s University in Belfast to research the Wii to help patients.
He added: ”The charity has invested in this research following overwhelming feedback from people with Parkinson’s who are finding that using a Wii has helped them with their balance, movements and mood.”