Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Virtual exercise game connects kids with cerebral palsy

Holland Bloorview is marking World Cerebral Palsy Day with a demo of the Cycle to Fun project that combines exercise bikes and a virtual video game to motivate kids with cerebral palsy to exercise while having fun and making friends.

"Our study is focused on kids who are using a walker and who might typically have moved to a wheelchair for longer distances," says Dr. Darcy Fehlings, a developmental pediatrician at Holland Bloorview who's partnering with computer science professor Nick Graham at Queen's University.

"We wanted to develop a game that's fun and keeps their muscles strong so they can continue walking with a walker. We find that they grow a lot in their teenage years, but their muscle strength doesn't increase, so they become more tired when moving and that leads to a decrease in fitness. What's also unique about our project is the idea that we can use networking to decrease social isolation."

Youth can log into the game and pedal and play together, getting their therapy done while making friends. 

The game is still in the research stage. For more information, contact Lauren Switzer at