Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Seniors enjoy playing #exergames at moderate intensity levels [Study]

Wii Tennis Player B side
Wii Tennis Player B side (Photo credit: Mesq)
This descriptive study examined healthy older adults who played one session of 15 minutes of Wii Tennis #exergaming. The participants were able to achieve 64% of their predicted heart rate maximum with 86% of them enjoying the experience. These findings are consistent with the many number of other studies that have evaluated seniors playing exergames, especially when played in a care facility like assisted-living.

Exergaming Points 2 Ponder (ExP2P)

  • It would be great to see results of studies where older adults are paired with children, teens or college students who play together and engage in physical activities requiring more than minimal levels of intensity.
  • Although the included photo was not from this study, it would be great to see their reaction to such a setup where it is closer to the actual physical sport of tennis. In fact, I'd love to play this setup and I'm thinking of a way to accomplish this for my kids.
  • As with many studies, would the findings have been changed if they were given a familiarization period?
  • How long would they play if given an undefined time period to play?

Fachko MJ, Xiao C, Bowles KH, Robinson KM, & Libonati JR (2013). Cardiovascular effects and enjoyment of exercise gaming in older adults. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 39 (12), 43-54 PMID: 23855328

Click here to explore more of ExerGame Lab's archived posts involving research studies. 

The purpose of this study was to quantify the cardiovascular responses and enjoyment of one trial of electronic exercise gaming (EG) (Nintendo® Wii™ Tennis) in healthy, older adults (mean age = 81 [SD = 4 years]). Findings indicate that 15 minutes of EG moderately increased heart rate (p < 0.001), blood pressure (p < 0.001), and perceived exertion (p < 0.0001) compared to resting levels. This corresponded to achieving 64% of age-predicted maximum heart rate. No differences were observed for the cardiovascular responses to EG between genders, but participants taking beta-blocker drugs showed an attenuated response (p < 0.05). All participants completed EG tennis without excessive fatigue, with 86% of participants enjoying the experience. There were only a few cases of EG-related arrhythmias (n = 2) and post-exercise muscle soreness (n = 3). These results suggest that Nintendo Wii Tennis EG technology represents an enjoyable, moderate intensity physical activity for healthy, older adults.
Fachko M.J., Xiao C., Bowles K.H., Robinson K.M. & Libonati J.R. (2013). Cardiovascular effects and enjoyment of exercise gaming in older adults, Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 39 (12) 43-54. PMID:

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