You could be reading the full-text of this article now if you...

If you have access to this article through your institution,
you can view this article in

Exergames and Cardiac Rehabilitation: A REVIEW

Ruivo, Jorge A. MD

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation & Prevention:
doi: 10.1097/HCR.0000000000000037
Scientific Review

INTRODUCTION: The newer generation of active video games (AVGs), which allow the participant to interact with the platform by performing exercise movements, seems promising in increasing physical activity (PA) and behavioral change toward a healthier lifestyle in several disease backgrounds. This literature review aims to establish a rationale for using AVGs as a complement to cardiac rehabilitation (CR).

METHODS: A systematic review was conducted to query whether AVGs are effective at improving various health parameters in adults/seniors, which could be useful for CR. From 134 identified studies, only 21 were finally included as trials meeting the required criteria. The majority reported gameplay intensities that could be classified as light-moderate PA. AVGs revealed superior effectiveness or noninferiority at improving balance.

DISCUSSION: AVGs seem to offer numerous relevant cardiovascular and noncardiovascular benefits and pose minimal risks for the adult/senior population. AVGs seem a feasible, effective, and safe supplementation strategy, in light of the specificities of the CR population. Clinicians could borrow several concepts incorporated in AVGs to develop a CR intervention that is fun and engaging to improve adherence.

CONCLUSION: On the basis of this review, the usefulness of AVGs to improve PA, cardiorespiratory fitness, and motor function in older adults appears to be poorly described. In particular, data on the impact of AVGs on the CR population seem inexistent. Nevertheless, there are reasons to believe that AVGs may prove important to address the health and well-being concerns of this population. More research in the specific setting of CR is warranted.

In Brief

Active video games, which are interactive exercise platforms, seem promising in increasing physical activity and behavioral change toward an overall healthier lifestyle. Evidence reveals their numerous health benefits and minimal risks for adults/seniors. Exergames could be integrated into cardiac rehabilitation programs as an adjunctive tool to complement the standard of care.

Author Information

Department of Physiotherapy, Trinity Centre of Health Sciences, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Correspondence: Jorge A. Ruivo, MD, Physiotherapy Research Room, Department of Physiotherapy, Trinity Centre of Health Sciences, St James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland (

The author declares no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins