Exergames improve balance
Over 30% of community-dwelling people above 65 years and half of the people above 80 years falls at least once a year (Gillespie et al., 2012 & Van Diest et al., 2013). There is strong evidence that strength and balance exercises decrease the number of fall accidents by up to 42% (Gillespie et al., 2012). Uptake and adherence to training programs is low for elderly (Stanmore et al., 2019). Exergames can be enjoyable and can therefor increase therapy adherence. It is indicated that tailoring the exergames is important to stimulate progression.
Stanmore et al. (2019) looked at the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of exergames to improve balance of elderly aged 55 years and older. 106 elderly participated in this study, of whom 56 in the intervention group and 50 in the control group. Elderly in the control group were asked to independently perform three conventional strength- and balance exercises for 12 weeks. Elderly in the intervention group could join exergames three times a week under supervision, next to the conventional exercises. Each participant got their own program of exergames, that suited the participant’s level.
Results of the study
- There was a significant difference in balance score after 12 weeks between the intervention and control group. The elderly in the intervention group improved their balance, while the elderly in the control group showed a deterioration.
- There was a significantly higher positive effect on fear of falling and pain for the intervention group in comparison to the control group.
- The decrease in the number of fall accidents was higher for the intervention group compared the control group.
- Therapy by exergames is potentially cost-effective in comparison with conventional therapy.
- No unexpected adverse events occurred during the intervention.
- 87% of the participants in the intervention group finished the whole program, which is high compared to other exercise programs for elderly.
Based on the results it was concluded that therapy for elderly by exergames is an accepted, effective and potentially cost-effective way to improve balance, pain and fear of falling. The SilverFit 3D offers exergames to train for example balance. The SilverFit 3D has been designed specifically for use by older people. It is a virtual therapy system to train gross motor skills and ADL tasks during rehabilitation sessions or supervised exercise programs. The SilverFit 3D also includes an exercise program specifically for fall prevention.
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Gillespie, L.D., Robertson, M.C., Gillespie, W.J., Sherrington, C., Gates, S., Clemson, L.M. & Lamb, S.E. (2012). Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community. Cochrane Database Syst Rev., 9, CD007146.
Van Diest, M., Lamoth, C.J.C., Stegenga, J., Verkerke, G.J. & Postema, K. (2013). Exergaming for balance training of elderly: state of the art and future developments. J Neuroeng Rehabil., 10, 101.
Stanmore, E.K., Mavroeidi, A., De Jong, L.D., Skelton, D.A., Sutton, C.J., Benedetto, V. ... Todd, C. (2019). The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of strength and balance Exergames to reduce falls risk for people aged 55 years and older in UK assisted living facilities: a multi-centre, cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Medicine, 17, Article number: 49.