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It’s Not Rehab It’s “Wii-hab”!

“Pow, bam, swish, beeeeep”…ahhhh, the sounds of technology. It’s hard to go anywhere these days without being “connected” to some form of technology. Statistics show that kids 8-18 years of age spend on average 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media (TV, computers, video games, phones, and movies). Not to mention, only 1/3 of high school students get the recommended amount of physical activity.

Physical activity is a vital component for a healthy lifestyle. When pairing physical activity with healthy eating habits, this dynamic duo can be an ultimate disease fighting hero! Physical activity and healthy eating can fight against: heart disease, cancer, and stroke which are the 3 main leading causes of death. Not only is physical activity helpful in preventing disease, it also aids in promoting weight control, builds good muscle mass and strong bone, reduces fat, aids in joint and muscle development, and decreases risk of obesity. Children need 60 total minutes of vigorous activity each day. Because technology surrounds us daily, and kiddos these days seem to be more technologically savvy than me, using these tools to promote physical activity is a great motivator! You can easily Wii-hab with your kiddos if you have a Wii, Xbox Kinect, Playstation, smartphone, or iPad! Below are some games that can be played to promote physical activity during those chilly winter months!

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Wii: If you have a wii mat, there are a large variety of games that you can play to promote physical activity. Some games that we like to play at Pediatric Therapy Center include: Just Dance, Just Dance Kids, Wii Active Life Extreme Challenge, and Active Life Explorer. These games all encourage continuous movements while kids get to be professional dancers, mini Indiana-Jones’, and skateboarders. Not only is the continuous movement beneficial, the added coordination and motor planning challenges these games present are excellent tools to help promote gross motor skills! There are many other games out there for the Wii including games using the “balance board” which are also excellent games to challenge balance, strength, and coordination!

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Kinect (this goes along with an Xbox 360 system): This system detects players’ movements with a nifty little device. A fun game for this is called “Kinect Adventures” where YOU are part of the game and need to duck, jump, and dodge various obstacles throughout the game. The graphics are so fun and the system takes random pictures of you throughout the adventure and you get to see snap shots of you and your family in all of your glory during the midst of play!

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I-Pad: Some fun free aps to promote activity include Fit-Quest Lite and Super Stretch Yoga. In FitQuest Lite you get to be a happy-go-lucky squirrel running through various obstacles in the wilderness. You have to jump over crocodiles and duck under soaring eagles. Throughout the game, you have to keep running and it tracks the time it takes to complete each mission. With Super Stretch Yoga, it takes kiddos through various yoga poses, but the demonstrators are kids themselves which adds a great motivating factor to the game. There are fun cartoon depictions of each yoga pose and then a demo of each pose. You can select different poses or you can run through a whole routine for a good continuous activity.

Remember, be a superhero to your kids and encourage healthy eating and physical activity, and of course, don’t forget that you can add in some “Wii-hab” during those colder months!

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Katie Collin, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist

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