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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

New research shows exergames boost older peoples’ confidence and health

3 October 2016

Preliminary findings of new research trials show playing exergames boosts older peoples’ confidence and health.

Exergames are exercise-based games played using interactive videogame technology and are being used to improve older peoples’ strength and balance. Dr Emma Stanmore, lead researcher on the exergames project, said: “Our current trial has shown an increased level of confidence among the gamers, and they seem to be happier and more fulfilled”. Inactivity is a leading cause of death worldwide, with inactive lifestyles linked to increased adverse health outcomes and shortened life expectancy.

Evidence shows that physical activity improves health and function and reduces disability at old age but encouraging people to do exercise remains a challenge. One 83 year old exergames trial volunteer recorded significant improvement in her overall lifestyle over the 12 week trial. Improvements in her strength and balance gave her the confidence to increase the length of time she exercised, and then to start driving again after giving this up four years previous.

Emma’s colleague Professor Chris Todd is principal investigator on the PreventIT EU project which uses mobile apps to improve activity ageing and health (www.preventit.eu). “There is little use in developing novel technologies without the full engagement and contribution of those it is aimed at”, said Professor Todd, “we want to understand the motivational components as well as how long it takes for a new behaviour to become a daily habit for people trying to become more active”.

Further information: Exergames - how to make physiotherapy fun

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