Motivation to exercise
Exercising regularly can be boring and physically exhausting. Patients might struggle to stay motivated doing highly repetitive and often painful exercises. Therapy adherence is therefore often lower than desired. Virtual exercises make therapy fun. Rhodes et al. (2009) showed that exercising with video games leads to higher therapy adherence than exercise without video games. The research shows that higher therapy adherence is caused because participants have more fun training with video games than without. Lohse et al. (2013) described that video games lead to voluntary participation, an extension of practice time and a high possibility of repeating the exercise. These factors increase motivation and could once again contribute to greater therapy adherence.
In 2013, a physiotherapist student, in cooperation with Leiden University Medical Center, investigated motivation in connection to SilverFit. Motivation can be divided into intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation. Intrinsic motivation is the most important, this is the “will” to take action originating from within the person themselves. This leads to more confidence and motivation for rehabilitation. The research showed that the clients achieved the highest score for intrinsic motivation. In addition, the research revealed that the SilverFit also motivates therapists. Some comments from them about SilverFit: "provides more motivation and fun during therapy", "adds diversity and variety", "clients exercise more", "it pushes limits".
If clients are more motivated, they will repeat the exercise more often. More repetitions are better for rehabilitation and health and lead to more feedback. Both in the short term (by means of in-game rewards or earning more points) and the long term (“I am now performing much better than I was in the beginning”, or “I can now do much more with my arm”). This feedback motivates clients to do even better or to repeat the exercise more often and in this way, it comes full circle.
The picture below illustrates these mechanisms further.