The Effects of a Psychoeducational and Exergaming Intervention in Sedentary Middle-Aged Community Members
Rosney, Daniel Michael, Sr.
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Interactive video game technology has been extensively utilized in rehabilitative settings. However, few studies have explored the potential benefits of interactive video games as an exercise instrument for middle-aged adults who do not have a gym membership or who otherwise cannot regularly make it to their local fitness center. Features of interactive “exergaming” (modeling proper exercise biomechanics, increasing self-monitoring of behavior, encouraging participants to set health-related goals, and rewarding regular use) may help increase self-efficacy, cardiovascular health and psychological well-being, which in turn could promote recreational physical activity and reduce stress. This dissertation utilizes healthy yet sedentary study participants over an eight-week period to determine the benefits of exergaming. We found that exergaming improved the HPA-axis response to stress as measured in saliva and hair cortisol, as well as functional strength and lower extremity balance, heart rate recovery time following exercise, the ability to perform transitional movements, and participants’ confidence in their ability to continue exercising beyond the current study. Additionally, exergaming elicited a habitual voluntary moderate-intensity exercise level in previously sedentary adults. Interactive video game systems should be considered a viable option for convenient, enjoyable, in-home exercise programs to assist individuals in meeting American College of Sports Medicine physical activity guidelines and improve overall quality of life.