The cost-effectiveness of exergaming

Background

Starting date: 02/02/2016

Research shows that physical exercise can influence a persons level of fitness, functioning, health and general well-being in a positive way. Physical inactivity is related to negative health-outcomes, such as mortality, reduced well-fare and social participation, and a influx in health related cost. Increasing evidence suggest that physical exercise has a positive effect on the physical, cognitive, emotional and social functioning of people with dementia. 

Despite these benefits, it appears that people with dementia often are inactive. This could be because they often experience difficulties, for example orientation problems, that make it hard to do physical activities outside of their house. These difficulties can also lead to a lack of motivation and taking initiative.

Exergaming is an innovative way to perform physical exercises in virtual surroundings. The technology registers the movements of the player and this influences the game or the surroundings. There are various applications, for example cycling on a hometrainer where the digital environment on screen changes with your movements.

Exergaming is expected to be a playful way of exercising which will motivate people with dementia to engage in physical activities in a pleasant and save manner. They can maintain or improve their physical, cognitive, emotional and social functioning.

In recent years various exergaming interventions have been developed. These are primarily used in daycentres, rehabilitation centres and nursing homes. Small studies which target people with dementia show that they like exergaming, that exergaming motivates them to exercise longer and that the videos sometimes evoke memories, which leads to mental activation. The workload of the staff was reduces, because the people with dementia were motivated to exercise.

These findings are promising, but there is no study yet that investigates the effects and cost-effectivity of exergaming in comparison with regular physical activities. We want to fill this void with the current project.