Lack of adequate physical activity in children is an epidemic that can result in obesity and other poor health outcomes across the lifespan. Physical activity interventions focused on motor skill competence continue to be developed, but some interventions, such as neuromuscular training (NMT), may be limited in how early they can be implemented due to dependence on the child’s level of cognitive and perceptual-motor development. Early implementation of motor-rich activities that support motor skill development in children is critical for the development of healthy levels of physical activity that carry through into adulthood. Virtual reality (VR) training may be beneficial in this regard. VR training, when grounded in an information-based theory of perceptual-motor behavior that modifies the visual information in the virtual world, can promote early development of motor skills in youth akin to more natural, real-world development as opposed to strictly formalized training. This approach can be tailored to the individual child and training scenarios can increase in complexity as the child develops. Ultimately, training in VR may help serve as a precursor to “real-world” NMT, and once the child reaches the appropriate training age can also augment more complex NMT regimens performed outside of the virtual environment.
Kiefer AW, Pincus D, Richardson MJ and Myer GD (2017) Virtual Reality As a Training Tool to Treat Physical Inactivity in Children. Front. Public Health 5:349. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00349
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