Encourage more exercise with Bike Labyrinth

We spoke virtually to Johan Hilverts, a psychomotor therapist at BCM Elder Care [BCM Ouderenzorg], among others, about his experiences in health care and with Bike Labyrinth.

Psychomotor therapist... It might not be the most familiar term, but fortunately, Johan was happy to explain the ins and outs of what that entails. “A psychomotor therapist uses movement to help people with mental health issues connect. That could include people who suffer from depression, dementia or are on the autism spectrum.”

At de Beukenhof, Johan treats clients with an “emotional backpack”, as Johan so deftly puts it. Elderly people with an unstable psychosocial history have often lost control of their lives, their self-confidence has taken a beating, and they live in social isolation. The pandemic only exacerbated the situation. And it frequently leads to depression, withdrawal, and self-neglect. So, how do you continue to connect with this group and gently encourage them to emerge from their shells? Movement, or exercise, is one solution. Johan does a fantastic job of it using Bike Labyrinth.

What’s great about Bike Labyrinth is that the client can make many decisions themselves while biking, e.g., which route, how long, how fast, and what direction to go at an intersection. That’s a perfect match for treating the loss of control that my clients suffer from.

Johan, Psychomotor Therapist at BCM Elderly Care

Johan has seen how much a ride on Bike Labyrinth does his clients good. People open up and voluntarily strike up conversations, talking, for example, about the environment that they are biking through or an old memory. The tremendous diversity of routes guarantees that there's a good bike tour for everyone. According to Johan, no other system can match that.

Bike Labyrinth currently offers 600 routes, but back when there were “only” 300 available, Johan had one client who was fanatically trying to complete them all. Johan made a special checklist for him and gave him an extra assignment. The client should also record his opinion of the routes. His enthusiasm and observant eye have led to a whole list of tips for a Bike Labyrinth upgrade, but more importantly, Johan and his patient have found a common topic to talk about. What route has he biked today? What does he like or dislike about it?

That motivated Johan to create checklists for his other clients too. The users use them to check off their biked routes and record what they thought of them. For instance, now the various users regularly get together to talk, and it’s rare to find someone biking alone. Bike Labyrinth is an excellent tool for establishing dialog between the therapist and client, getting physical exercise, and facilitating strong social bonding.

The users who work with Johan are so dedicated that Beukenhof ranks number one for total minutes cycled. And those scores are an open challenge to try and beat his clients. Who knows? Maybe your care facility will sweep up first place soon, or – even better – you’ll see your clients experience growth and catch the excitement too.

JOHAN’S TIP: organize a client competition! Choose one or a series of routes and record the times. Who completed the route(s) the fastest?