‘EXERGAMING’ can improve quality of life for heart failure patients, according to a new study presented in an ESC press release.
‘Exergaming’ enables participants to be physically active while playing a virtual game, such as tennis, in front of a television. To assess its impact on heart failure patients, the team randomised a cohort of 605 patients to either undertake 30 minutes a day of exergaming or standard exercise, with the six-minute walk test used to measure exercise capacity. Whilst there was no difference in the distance walked between the two groups at the start of the study, results of the primary analysis showed that after 3 months, patients in the exergame group could walk 33 metres further on average than those in the standard exercise group.
Quality of Life
The team found that overall, exergaming had a greater impact on quality of life, anxiety, and depression, although statistical significance was only reached in quality of life. Principal investigator Prof Tiny Jaarsma, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, commented: “Patients in the exergame group had significantly higher quality of life after 3 months than those who received standard exercise advice. While there was no statistical increase in anxiety and depression, it was encouraging that playing exergaming did not increase anxiety.”
Feedback from participants indicated that enhanced quality of life resulted from increased fitness levels, allowing them to undertake more activities around the house, as well as the social interactions enabled by exergaming. “Patients with heart failure often feel that everything in their lives is negative: they cannot do this, they have to do that. This new way of exercising is something they can do. Exergaming enables them to be active at home. For example, patients like being able to play tennis for half an hour with their spouse without having to go out,” added Prof Jaarsma.
The duration of time spent exergaming did not significantly impact how far participants could walk, which might be because those who played the most were the healthiest at the start of the study and had less room for improvement. However, all patients who undertook exergaming, including the sickest, could walk further than at the start of the study.
James Coker, Reporter
For the source and further information about the study, click here.