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Use of virtual reality technique for the training of motor control in the elderly

Some theoretical considerations

Einsatz der virtuellen Realität für das Training der motorischen Kontrolle bei Älteren

Einige theoretische Überlegungen

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Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Virtual augmented exercise, an emerging technology that can help to promote physical activity and combine the strengths of indoor and outdoor exercise, has recently been proposed as having the potential to increase exercise behavior in older adults. By creating a strong presence in a virtual, interactive environment, distraction can be taken to greater levels while maintaining the benefits of indoor exercises which may result in a shift from negative to positive thoughts about exercise. Recent findings on young participants show that virtual reality training enhances mood, thus, increasing enjoyment and energy. For older adults virtual, interactive environments can influence postural control and fall events by stimulating the sensory cues that are responsible in maintaining balance and orientation. However, the potential of virtual reality training has yet to be explored for older adults. This manuscript describes the potential of dance pad training protocols in the elderly and reports on the theoretical rationale of combining physical game-like exercises with sensory and cognitive challenges in a virtual environment.

Zusammenfassung

Eine durch virtuelle Realität ergänzte Bewegungsausführung stellt eine neue und sich schnell entwickelnde Technologie dar. Sie fördert die Lust zur Bewegung, vereinigt die Vorteile von Indoor- und Outdooraktivitäten und vermag sogar das Bewegungsverhalten von älteren Menschen zu verbessern. Eine starke Ablenkung von der eigentlichen Bewegungsausführung, verursacht durch ein überzeugendes Gefühl des Eintauchens in eine virtuell-interaktive Umgebung, kann dazu führen, dass sich die Meinung über Bewegung vom Negativen zum Positiven hin wendet. Neuste Erkenntnisse mit jungen Personen zeigen, dass das Training in einer virtuellen Umgebung Vergnügen bereitet, die Gemütslage und den Energielevel anhebt. Bei älteren Menschen kann eine virtuell-interaktive Umgebung die Haltungskontrolle beeinflussen und auch als Sturzprophylaxe dienen, in dem sie die sensorischen Bereiche stimuliert, die für die Kontrolle des Gleichgewichts und der Orientierung zuständig sind. Dennoch muss das Potenzial eines Trainings in einer virtuellen Umgebung bei älteren Menschen noch weiter erforscht werden. Dieser Artikel beschreibt die Möglichkeiten eines Einsatzes von elektronischen Tanzmatten bei älteren Menschen und erklärt die theoretischen Hintergründe der Kombination von körperlicher Aktivität mit gleichzeitigen sensorisch-kognitiven Aufgaben in einer virtuellen Umgebung.

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de Bruin, E., Schoene, D., Pichierri, G. et al. Use of virtual reality technique for the training of motor control in the elderly. Z Gerontol Geriat 43, 229–234 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00391-010-0124-7

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