To test whether an 8-wk exergaming (EG) program would improve cognition and gait
characteristics compared with a traditional physical exercise (TPE) program in older adults
at risk for falling.
A pilot quasi-experimental study was conducted in adults age ≥65 yr at risk for falls, living in senior communities. Participants enrolled (n
= 35) in either exercise program offered twice weekly for 8 wk. Cognition and single-task and dual-task gait
characteristics were measured before and after the 8-wk exercise intervention. For each outcome, a repeated-measures ANCOVA adjusted for age, gender, and exercise intensity (ratings of perceived exertion, RPE) was used to examine the group–time interaction.
Twenty-nine participants (age, 77 ± 7 yr) completed either the EG program (n
= 15) or the TPE program (n
= 14). Statistically significant group–time interactions were observed in Trail Making Test Part A (P
< 0.05) and single-task gait
speed, stride length, swing time percentage, and double support percentage (all P
< 0.05), and marginal group differences were observed in Mini-Mental State Examination (P
= 0.07), all favoring the EG program. There were no statistically significant group differences in dual-task gait
measurements except for swing time percentage and double support percentage, favoring the EG program.
An 8-wk EG program for older adults
at risk for falls contributed to modest improvements in a number of cognitive measures and single-task but limited improvements in dual-task gait
measures, compared with TPE. These findings support the need for larger trials to determine cognitive and mobility benefits related to EG.