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Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 275–282 | Cite as

A wearable-enhanced fitness program for older adults, combining fitness trackers and gamification elements: the pilot study fMOOC@Home

  • Anika SteinertEmail author
  • Ilona Buchem
  • Agathe Merceron
  • Jörn Kreutel
  • Marten Haesner
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Besides nutrition, physical activity is one of the most important prerequisites for healthy aging. The public funded R&D project fMOOC (Fitness MOOC—interaction of older adults with wearable fitness trackers in a Massive Open Online Course), aimed at encouraging older adults to increase their physical activity with the help of a senior-friendly wearable enhanced training system composed of a smartphone training-app coupled with an activity-tracking device.

Methods

In a pilot study, we evaluated the training system in the home environment of older adults—20 older adults, used the smartphone app and the activity-tracking device for 4 weeks. We investigated the usability of the system using validated usability tests and asked the participants about use patterns and acceptance. We also examined the effectiveness of the training by measuring changes in strength, physical activity, balancing ability and endurance.

Results

The analysis of the data shows that the majority of the participants (60%) engaged in the training program on a regular basis. Among the various technical components of the training program, the fitness tracking devices were used most frequently (90% on a daily basis). An interesting result is that even within a short training period of 4 weeks, and within the small sample of 20 participants, the data showed significant health improvements regarding the duration of daily physical activity (T(19) = − 2.274; p < 0.05) and the balancing ability (T(19) = − 3.048; p < 0.01).

Conclusion

A wearable-enhanced fitness training program, can motivate older adults to be more physically active.

Keywords

Older adults Physical activity Wearables Usability 

Notes

Funding

This article was produced as part of a project which was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under Grant Number 16SV7100. Responsibility for the contents of this publication lies with the authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the ethic review board at the Charité and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11332_2017_424_MOESM1_ESM.docx (61 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 60 kb)
11332_2017_424_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (1.7 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 1736 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anika Steinert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ilona Buchem
    • 2
  • Agathe Merceron
    • 2
  • Jörn Kreutel
    • 2
  • Marten Haesner
    • 1
  1. 1.Geriatrics Research GroupCharité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Information Science and MediaBeuth University of Applied Sciences BerlinBerlinGermany

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