Sunday, 7 November 2010

Balance Training - PhysioFun



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PhysioFun Balance Training is a WiiWare game using the WiiMote and balance board, available for purchase and download direct from the Wii Shopping Channel for 2000 points. The game concerns itself solely with balance and simple exercises relating to balance, mostly on one leg which immediately creates a criteria for successful use - persons/patients using this game must be able to stand on one leg to get the full benefit of balance training.

The main elements of the software are - the Balance Test, Fun Mode and Physio Mode. The balance test requires the user to stand on the balance board for 30, 60 or 90 seconds. During the test the image of a balance board is displayed with a black dot that moves indicating centre of balance. Once the time is up the results are displayed in the form of a graph showing the area of balance board that the COG was during the time, horizontal shift of weight and vertical shift of weight. These results are then comparable to earlier measurements taken. There is no way of extracting the data through the program for printing or recording purposes - a pen and paper is needed for that.

The Fun Mode is a progressive sequence of 6 balance exercises (all of which are on one leg) that gradually gets harder and harder as you work your way up through the 'student belts' (as in martial arts). The Fun Modes 6 exercises are as follows:
Water: Stand on one leg and maintain balance
Desert: Stand on one leg and raise then lower arms
Forest: Stand on one leg and move arms in a circular motion
Eternal Ice: Stand on one leg and move arms forward and backwards in a running motion
Volcano: Stand on one leg and raise arms above head to block
Temple: Stand on one leg and abduct the opposite leg

Points are awarded for how well the exercise is performed, with a small image of the balance board indicating centre of gravity. Circles on the balance board indicate when balance is excellent, good or not good enough. Time outside of the green 'good' section causes low points and eventual premature end to the activity. Being able to maintain COG over the centre dot on the balance board accelerates the points earned to enable a high score to be achieved.

The progression to the exercises is in the early levels an increase in the length of time these exercises have to be performed with other reviews reporting that the levels extend to 90 seconds each.

The Physio Mode also uses the 6 exercises from the Fun Mode but allows individual training schedules to be created. The exercise can be chosen, the leg to balance on, the length of time the activity is for and the difficulty. There does not seem to be a limit to the number of exercises that can be added to the schedule but only 4 individual schedules can be created at any one time. A calender through this option allows sessions to be recorded by date and retrieved at a later time.

One nice feature of the Physio Mode is the Ongoing Measurement option. This consists of an image of the balance board with the black dot showing where COG is and can be used as a prompt or visual feedback during balance work for as long as is needed. It is just a tool with no time limit, scoring or other distracting element. In my option, it is what Wii Fit has been lacking and I envisage it being a useful aspect of this software.

This software is a good attempt at offering therapeutic use of the Wii and balance board. It is aimed at people who what to improve their existing balance, rather than working to establish fundamental and bilateral balance and therefore aimed at higher level persons/patients.

There is definitely a place for this kind of software and its success may support the development of a broader range of activities.

If you have used this software, please comment below.


More info from Kaasa Health Website

Purchase from WiiWare: Click the image


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