Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Effects of Exergames on Balance, Functional Mobility, and Quality of Life of Geriatrics versus Home Exercise Programme: Randomized Controlled Study

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Effects of Exergames on Balance, Functional Mobility, and Quality of Life of Geriatrics versus Home Exercise Programme: Randomized Controlled Study

Article excerpt


Today, many children and adults use videogames as recreational tools. Many of these require physical activity for playability. Many gamers are particularly interested in games where they have to move part or all of their bodies to control an avatar or activity during the game (1). Although such games are limited to the indoor area and a television game console, they are predicted to play a major role in daily physical activity recommended for children and young people (2). Even though the primary purpose of video game developers is to make the games more enjoyable, these games have positive impacts on physical activity and therefore health. In particular, after 2000, the academic interest in this topic increased when games requiring physical activity were shown to be effective in increasing required daily energy expenditure levels (2). In 2007, "exergames" (the term derived from "exercise" and "game") were introduced to the English scientific literature (2). The popularity of rehabilitation programmes based on virtual reality has also increased, with EGs included or adapted for use in such programmes, especially in obesity prevention programmes and hemiplegia rehabilitation in children (1-3). Dancing, calisthenics, activities with exercisers, aqua therapy, and group exercises have been reported to increase exercise motivation among the geriatric population (4, 5). The use of virtual reality programmes in geriatric rehabilitation has also attracted attention. However, there are only a few studies on the use of EGs for exercising in older people, with researchers reporting positive effects of EGs with the Nintendo Wii FitTM game console on the balance of geriatric patients (6-9).

Accordingly, the aim of this study was (1) to demonstrate the effects of EG using the Xbox 360 KinectTM game console on balance, functional mobility, and quality of life of geriatrics and (2) to compare the effects of EG with those achieved in the home exercise (HE) programme.


One hundred participants aged 65 years or older who attended the Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine outpatient clinic from September 2013 to November 2013 were included in the study. All subjects were informed about the content, purpose and execution of the study, and all completed informed consent forms. The local ethics committee approved the study. The inclusion criteria were as follows:

* Individuals who could cooperate, as assessed by the Mini Mental Status test (those with a score of 25 or higher were included in the study);

* Individuals who could ambulate without support;

* Individuals with a score of 3 or lower on the Visual Analogue Scale evaluation for pain in any part of their bodies;

* Individuals who did not exercise regularly.

The exclusion criteria were as follows:

* The presence of cardiopulmonary dysfunction that would hinder aerobic exercising (e.g., acute congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, or third-stage cardiac block);

* The presence of central or peripheral neurological disease;

* The presence of problems that hindered standing (e.g., previous lower extremity surgery or lower extremity pain);

* A diagnosis of a serious psychiatric disorder, serious hearing disorder or serious visual disorder.

One hundred patients who met the inclusion criteria were divided into the EG group and HE group using the complete randomization method (coin flipping). The randomized assignment with even chances resulted in 54 cases in the EG group and 46 cases in the HE group. The study progression is outlined in the flow diagram (Fig. 1).

The HE group undertook balance exercises, including stretching exercises for the hamstring, quadriceps, pelvic girdle, and pectoral group muscles, and strengthening exercises for large muscle groups (quadriceps, hamstring, biceps, and abdominal muscles). These included standing on two feet, a semitandem stance, standing on one foot, standing on heels, and standing on toes. …

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