Exercise made fun: Hopspots for the disabled

As part of the municipality of Vejle, Denmark’s, project of testing training- and welfare technologies, we at the residential accommodation Højbo-Solsikken in Give have tested Hopspots over the past 6 months – and the feedback cannot be questioned:

One of the citizens said: “It is so much fun that I start to laugh”, and as the staff member Kenneth Yde, from Højbo-Solsikken says, “We have gotten very far when the citizens say stuff like that”.

The Municipality of Vejle invests in welfare

In the care homes, residential accommodation and activity centers in the municipality of Vejle the focus is on getting people to be more physically active as well as social in their everyday lives. Thus, the municipality has invested in welfare technologies since 2012 and recently tested a range of new training technologies. Since 2012 they have tested around 70 different technologies.

The purpose of the welfare technologies is to get more people to be physically active, both in terms of the number of times, intensity and duration, but it is also to motivate the citizens themselves to take the initiative to be social and to exercise more on their own, without it always being facilitated by the staff.

In the choice of technologies the municipality has focused on technologies that: make the citizens more mobile, allowing them to do more on their own, give the citizens greater quality of life and that free resources, as in making the staff freer to deal with other tasks.

Højbo-Solsikken tests the technology Hopspots

At Højbo-Solsikken a residential accommodation for adults with mental and physical disabilities, we are part of the project “Play and co-creation in Give” and have thus tested Hopspots the past 6 months.

With its 12 interactive spots, sound and light, Hopspots stimulates and motivates the citizens to move and have fun together. The Hopspots games target everyone from 2 years and up, no matter their level, and fits perfectly with the areas of interest for most of the citizens at Højbo-Solsikken.

Kenneth Yde, who is the project manager at the residential accommodation, says: “Hopspots has turned out to be a new, different and most importantly a fun way of exercising. You totally forget that you are moving and thus Hopspots is a straight-forward way of making exercise part of the everyday life, without you even noticing that you are actually exercising”.

Training technology makes exercise fun

Exercise and training is great for the body and soul. That is a fact, but in practice it can be really hard to get started and weight is becoming a bigger and bigger issue for lots of people. In order to get started motivation is key, and it is undeniably easier to get started if the exercise you are going to do is also fun.

Staff member, Kenneth Yde, says that “the citizens are kind of “played” into moving their bodies, and that’s exactly what we need. It can be hard to motivate them so this is really the right way of doing it – it fits with their needs”.

Here at the residential accommodation we used Hopspots at least at couple of times a week and for at least half an hour every time, but often an entire hour, because the citizens want to keep playing.

The Hopspots-spots have a range of 20 meters on each side of the speaker unit, which allows you to spread the spots far out on the floor to make it harder or place them closely together for the less mobile citizens. Hopspots really gets the citizens to move and they run out of breath, which they don’t even notice because they are having so much fun.

Hopspots becomes “the shared third”

Besides from the fact that the citizens don’t even notice that they are exercising because they are having so much fun, it is in particular the interaction with each other that is a huge benefit with Hopspots compared to other training technologies. Hopspots becomes “the shared third”, which the citizens, no matter relationships or levels, can do together.

Staff member, Kenneth Yde, says that “the relationships are strengthened, even though you might not see it during the everyday, but here we see people who normally don’t play together – who won’t play together – who have now started playing together with Hopspots”.

A brilliant way of creating joy and movement

Moreover, Kenneth says: “Hopspots is just a brilliant way of getting the citizens out of their apartments and getting them to do something together with others and also get their heart rate up and release some endorphins in their brains to become happier – increasing their well-being”.

It is clear that Hopspots is something that the citizens of the residential accommodation ask for. They have started making the sounds from the games when they want to play, making it their way of saying “hey, it’s time to play”. That’s great to hear, and the citizens have even started handing the staff drawings of Hopspots, because as Kenneth Yde says. “It’ is something that they like to do. It is something that they think is fun”.