BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Monday February 09 2009 07:24 GMT

Adam checks out Wii physiotherapy for kids

Adam with Danielle, Jack and Callum

A hospital in Leeds reckons it is the first place in the country to use the Nintendo Wii Fit to help children with their physiotherapy.

Adam jumped on to the balance board to check it out...

"There are all the usual things you expect to find in a physio room - parallel bars, an exercise bike and some multi-coloured fitness balls. But in the corner, under the TV, there's a Nintendo Wii with a balance board.

Wii Fit is one of last year's best selling computer games, but at Seacroft Hospital they are using it to help children who have been fitted with artificial limbs (the posh name name for those is prosthetics).

Jack uses the Wii Fit for physio
Jack uses the balance board
Muscle workout

Danielle, Jack and Callum have all had medical problems which mean they've been given given prosthetic legs and they come here for physio every few weeks.

After their normal exercises they hop onto the Wii so that they can have some fun, but also work on their muscles and improve their balance.

Lynne the physiotherapist says learning to walk again is very difficult: "It's really hard to actually put on a prosthetic limb because you've got no feeling. You can't feel the ground."

Danielle, Callum and Jack
Danielle, Callum and Jack with their physiotherapist Lynne
She had the brainwave of using a Wii at the hospital when she was given one as a birthday present.

'Much more fun'

Callum says: "It makes you get more fit and gives you more energy to walk. It feels good except sometimes your feet end up hurting."

Danielle, 10, told me that it helps her to stop arching her back and stops her being lazy!

Jack uses the Wii Fit for physio
But who will get the highest score?
Jack has had an artificial leg since last September and says the Wii is much more fun than his usual physio exercises.

I watched them playing the skiing game, the hula hoop challenge and that weird one where you have to make a marble fall down a hole. They all got great scores!

After a few goes, the guys get quite tired - which makes you realise that they are actually working really hard to do something that most of treat as just a bit of fun."