Orlando Estrada, 77, experienced so much pain and loss of balance after his two knee-replacement surgeries that he needed a wheelchair to get around. Taking the bus was an ordeal, and he got so little exercise that his blood pressure was heading toward the danger zone. Today, Estrada is not only walking again, he’s dancing, and his blood pressure is back to normal. 

Estrada, a former design engineer at Hewlett Packard, attributes his remarkable recovery to his participation in the Exergamers Wellness Club, a public-private partnership among Microsoft, the Los Angeles Department of Aging, Partners in Care Foundation  and St. Barnabas Senior Services, a non-profit organization that operates a popular senior center in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Details of the program were unveiled at an event today in Los Angeles, kicked off with a flashmob of seniors, ages 60 to 80, erupting into dance at St. Barnabas Senior Center. 

The Exergamers Wellness Club is based on a comprehensive health-and-wellness program developed by the Partners in Care Foundation. For the Exergamers Club, Partners in Care modified the core program with the addition of two Microsoft products—Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 and Microsoft HealthVault. The program and these tools enhance the lives of older adults, helping them get fit, increase social interaction, and manage their personal health information online.

Exergaming, the practice of using interactive video games for exercise, is a growing fitness trend for people of all ages.  In addition to St Barnabas, the partners plan to expand the program to the other 15 senior centers in the Los Angeles Department of Aging service area. Microsoft plans to donate a Kinect, a selection of games and a one-year Xbox LIVE Gold Membership to the centers. 

We can’t wait to see how additional aging populations get fit with innovative initiatives. To learn more about the programs that Microsoft is funding in the Los Angeles community, please check out Microsoft Citizenship.