Exergaming: from buzzword to maturity

PhD student Mike van Diest (SPRINT/UMCG research centre) has developed a game to help seniors improve their balance at home. Improved balance can prevent falls. On 15 February 2016, he graduated on his research called 'Developing an exergaming for unsupervised home-based balance training in older adults'. In his research, Mike used the 'Users as designers' method, developed by Waag.

The exergame was developed together with older adults to ensure a good understanding of the user requirements. A prototype of the game was tested in a pilot study in which older adults (age 65-88) played the exergame 3 times per week for a period of 6 weeks. All participants completed the program, and played even more than requested. The results showed an improvement in balance control in some participants and a difference in rate of improvement between participants. These findings underline the importance of individualized training programs.

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Sabine Wildevuur

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