Physical and Occupational Therapy

Happy Hovering

I recently got a small taste of the newest sought after gadget…the hoverboard.  After my experience I felt it important to share some insights with our readers (the details of my experience aren’t as important as what I learned…right?) This board is pressure sensitive and requires a significant amount of what therapists like to refer to as “proprioceptive awareness”, or knowing where your body is at in space.  It works similarly to a Segway, you lean forward it moves forward.  To safely control these devices good body awareness and dynamic balance is a must, along with a strong core, legs and ankles.  Personally I started out on my stomach with my forearms on the board and my body dragging behind.  This seemed safer than starting on my feet and worked quite well.  A good progression would be a lower to the ground position like on your stomach, then progress to your knees in a tall kneeling position, lastly moving to your feet.  This will give you a feel of the board and how it balances and moves before jumping right on it in the standing position.  A helmet is an absolute must no matter your position when you’re learning to use this device.  A spotter is also a good idea, both to give you hand held support as you need it and to call for help if you fall.  Having a large smooth area free of obstacles would be optimal as you familiarize yourself with the device.  In summary: 1) progress your position from low to high  2) wear a helmet  3) don’t attempt if you have poor balance or body awareness  4) use a spotter  5) clear a large area of obstacles 6) go slow…these thing go up to 12MPH.  Your temptation will be to move faster as you feel comfortable and are having fun, but hold off on the speed until you have mastered starts/stops/turns (part of that personal experience I left out earlier).  Are these devices dangerous, sure they are, as are a lot of life’s pleasures.  However with some common sense and a little caution, hoverboards are really fun.  Happy hovering!

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