Study protocol: effect of playful training on functional abilities of older adults - a randomized controlled trial

Jari Due Jessen, Henrik Hautop Lund

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Background: Loss of functional capabilities due to inactivity is one of the most common reasons for fall accidents, and it has been well established that loss of capabilities can be effectively reduced by physical activity. Pilot studies indicate a possible improvement in functional abilities of community dwelling elderly as a result of short-term playing with an exergame system in the form of interactive modular tiles. Such playful training may be motivational to perform and viewed by the subjects to offer life-fulfilling quality, while providing improvement in physical abilities, e.g. related to prevent fall accidents. The RCT will test for a variety of health parameters of community-dwelling elderly playing on interactive modular tiles.Methods: The study will be a single blinded, randomized controlled trial with 60 community-dwelling adults 70+ years. The trial will consist an intervention group of 30 participants training with the interactive modular tiles, and a control group of 30 participants that will receive the usual care provided to non-patient elderly. The intervention period will be 12 weeks. The intervention group will perform group training (4-5 individuals for 1 h training session with each participant receiving 13 min training) on the interactive tiles twice a week. Follow-up tests include 6-min Walk Test (6MWT), the 8-ft Timed Up & Go Test (TUG), and the Chair-Stand Test (CS) from the Senior Fitness Test, along with balancing tests (static test on Wii Board and Line Walk test). Secondary outcomes related to adherence, motivation and acceptability will be investigated through semi-structured interviews. Data will be collected from pre-and post-tests. Data will be analyzed for statistically significant differences by checking that there is a Gaussian distribution and then using paired t-test, otherwise using Wilcoxon signed-rank test. "Intention to treat" analysis will be done.Discussion: The trial tests for increased mobility, agility, balancing and general fitness of community-dwelling elderly as a result of playing, in this case on modular interactive tiles. A positive outcome may help preventing loss of functional capabilities due to inactivity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number1
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Exergaming
  • Falls prevention
  • Functional abilities
  • Play
  • adult
  • aged
  • agility
  • control group
  • controlled clinical trial
  • controlled study
  • follow up
  • functional status
  • human
  • major clinical study
  • motivation
  • normal human
  • randomized controlled trial
  • registration
  • semi structured interview
  • six minute walk test
  • Student t test
  • timed up and go test
  • Wilcoxon signed ranks test
  • GO


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