A2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review
Effectiveness of Exergame Intervention on Walking in Older Adults : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (2021)

Janhunen, M., Karner, V., Katajapuu, N., Niiranen, O., Immonen, J., Karvanen, J., Heinonen, A., & Aartolahti, E. (2021). Effectiveness of Exergame Intervention on Walking in Older Adults : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Physical Therapy, 101(9), Article pzab152. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzab152

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Janhunen, Maarit; Karner, Vera; Katajapuu, Niina; Niiranen, Oona; Immonen, Jaakko; Karvanen, Juha; Heinonen, Ari; Aartolahti, Eeva

Journal or series: Physical Therapy

ISSN: 0031-9023

eISSN: 1538-6724

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 101

Issue number: 9

Article number: pzab152

Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzab152

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77942


Objective. The objective of this review was to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of exergaming on walking in older adults. In addition, the aim was to investigate the relationship between the exergaming effect and age, baseline walking performance, exercise traits, technology used and the risk of bias.

Methods. A literature search was carried out in the databases MEDLINE, CINAHL, CENTRAL, EMBASE, WoS, PsycInfo and PEDro up to January 10, 2020. Studies with a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) design, people ≥60 years of age without neurological disorders, comparison group with other exercise or no exercise, and walking related outcomes were included. Cochrane RoB2, meta-analysis, meta-regression, and GRADE were used to estimate quality, treatment effect, covariates’ effect, and the certainty of evidence, respectively.

Results. In the studies included (n = 66), the overall risk of bias was low (n = 2), unclear (n = 48) or high (n = 16). Compared with comparison groups, exergaming interventions were more effective for walking improvements (SMD = −0.21; 95% CI = −0.36 to −0.06; 3102 participants, 58 studies; moderate-quality evidence) and more or equally effective (SMD = −0.32; 95% CI = −0.64 to 0.00; 1028 participants, 13 studies; low-quality evidence) after nonexergaming follow-up. The strongest effect for covariates was observed with the type of comparison group, explaining 18.6% of the variance.

Conclusions. For older adults without neurological disorders, exergame-based training improved walking, and improvements were maintained at follow-up. Greater benefits were observed when exergaming groups were compared to inactive comparison groups. To strengthen the evidence, further RCTs on the effectiveness of gamified exercise intervention are needed.

Impact. Exergaming has effect equivalent to other types of exercising on improving walking in older adults. Physical therapists and other rehabilitation professionals may consider exergaming as a promising form of exercise in this age group.

Keywords: rehabilitation; exercise therapy; intervention (treatment methods); digital games; walking (motion); senior citizens; systematic reviews; meta-analysis

Free keywords: exergames; aged

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-28-09 at 11:43