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Background: Physical activity can improve exercise capacity, quality of life and reduce mortality and hospitalization in patients with heart failure (HF). Adherence to exercise recommendations in patients with HF is low. The use of exercise games (exergames) might be a way to encourage patients with HF to exercise especially those who may be reluctant to more traditional forms of exercise. No studies have been conducted on patients with HF and exergames. Aim: This scoping review focuses on the feasibility and influence of exergames on physical activity in older adults, aiming to target certain characteristics that are important for patients with HF to become more physically active. Methods: A literature search was undertaken in August 2012 in the databases PsychInfo, PUBMED, Scopus, Web of Science and CINAHL. Included studies evaluated the influence of exergaming on physical activity in older adults. Articles were excluded if they focused on rehabilitation of specific limbs, improving specific tasks or describing no intervention. Fifty articles were found, 11 were included in the analysis. Results: Exergaming was described as safe and feasible, and resulted in more energy expenditure compared to rest. Participants experienced improved balance and reported improved cognitive function after exergaming. Participants enjoyed playing the exergames, their depressive symptoms decreased, and they reported improved quality of life and empowerment. Exergames made them feel more connected with their family members, especially their grandchildren. Conclusion: Although this research field is small and under development, exergaming might be promising in order to enhance physical activity in patients with HF. However, further testing is needed.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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