Active video gaming to improve balance in the elderly

Claudine J C Lamoth, Simone R Caljouw, Klaas Postema
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 2011, 167: 159-64
The combination of active video gaming and exercise (exergaming) is suggested to improve elderly people's balance, thereby decreasing fall risk. Exergaming has been shown to increase motivation during exercise therapy, due to the enjoyable and challenging nature, which could support long-term adherence for exercising balance. However, scarce evidence is available of the direct effects of exergaming on postural control. Therefore, the aim of the study was to assess the effect of a six-week videogame-based exercise program aimed at improving balance in elderly people. Task performance and postural control were examined using an interrupted time series design. Results of multilevel analyses showed that performance on the dot task improved within the first two weeks of training. Postural control improved during the intervention. After the intervention period task performance and balance were better than before the intervention. Results of this study show that healthy elderly can benefit from a videogame-based exercise program to improve balance and that all subjects were highly motivated to exercise balance because they found gaming challenging and enjoyable.

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