Are exergames promoting mobility an attractive alternative to conventional self-regulated exercises for elderly people in a rehabilitation setting? Study protocol of a randomized controlled trial

Viviane Hasselmann, Peter Oesch, Luis Fernandez, Stefan Bachmann

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Maintaining mobility in elderly persons has become a primary goal within healthcare services. In older adults, exercise programs significantly reduce the risk of falling and death. Long-lasting and high-intensive multi-component exercises are most effective. In a rehabilitation setting, self-regulated exercises are conventionally taught by physiotherapists, using handouts. However, the adherence of elderly persons to executing these self-administered programs varies considerably. They are often considered tedious and boring, and thus prematurely stopped. The primary aim of this clinical trial is to determine whether elderly persons in a rehabilitation setting show higher adherence to self-regulated training when using exergames than when performing conventional exercises. The second objective is to explore which mode of exercise leads to greater improvement in balance performance. Methods/Design: The study consists of a single blind, stratified, randomized control trial with two parallel groups. Once included, study participants will be stratified according to their balance and computer skills and randomly allocated to self-regulated training with conventional exercise programs or with exergames played with the Windows Kinect® sensor and FitBit® pedometer. In both groups, self-administered exercise programs will be taught by experienced physiotherapists and performed at the patient's own discretion during the ten days of intervention. The primary outcome is the performed daily training volume, collected by the participants in a logbook. Secondary outcomes are objective and subjective balance skills measured by an activity tracker and the Fall Efficacy Scale self-administered questionnaire. Both assessments will be performed at pre- and post-intervention. Discussion: According to the available literature, this study is the first to compare conventional self-regulated exercises with exergames among older patients in a rehabilitation setting. Results of this study will contribute to our understanding of its motivational potential on exercise adherence in elderly persons and provide more insight into the potential effectiveness of exergames promoting mobility. Trial registration: The present clinical study has been registered on under the identifier number: NCT02077049. The detailed trial protocol can be accessed online on: NCT02077049.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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