Exergaming – A Fun, More Effective Way to Exercise
At Bethesda Physiocare®, we believe exercise should be individualized, challenging, and–most importantly–fun. There is an increasing amount of evidence supporting the use of exergaming to improve physical activity, increase compliance with exercise, and reduce pain!
Exergaming, a portmanteau of “exercise” and “gaming,” is not only more enjoyable than traditional exercise, but it has also shown to be more effective. By switching the focus of control externally (focus on targets/tasks/games), motor learning and performance are more efficient than traditional exercises, which are prescribed with an intrinsic or no focus of control (focus on body parts and/or isolated movements).
At Bethesda Physiocare®, we have adopted the principles of a newly developed motor learning theory known as Optimizing Performance through Intrinsic Motivation and Attention for Learning (OPTIMAL). To summarize the OPTIMAL theory, enhanced expectancies and success in performing certain movement skills helps patients with their motor skill learning and becoming more successful. We use the OPTIMAL PROGRAM in the treatment of a variety of orthopedic and neurological impairments including balance problems, weakness, fatigue/POTS, joint instability and range of motion limitations.
At our clinic, we are specifically interested in exergaming to help our hypermobile patients improve joint stability and proprioception. Many of our patients who have failed to progress with “traditional PT” see significant improvements with pain and function after a few weeks of beginning an externally-focused exercise program. Furthermore, an external-focus approach facilitates unconscious and reflexive processes, which allow patients to gain control over their movement patterns and reduce joint subluxations.
For more information on exergaming and how it could benefit your rehab, please contact our office.