Exergaming: Meaningful Play for Older Adults?

  • Eugène LoosEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10298)


Dutch historian Johan Huizinga [1] viewed games as a fundamental aspect of life. As long ago as 1938, he observed that, next to “homo faber” (man the maker), there is also the concept of “homo ludens” (man the player). The aim of this paper is to explore what we can learn from previously conducted empirical studies about the motivation and capability of older adults to use exergames. We were guided by the following questions. To which extent: (1) Are older adults motivated to play exergames and why is this the case?, (2) Are older adults able to play exergames and why is this the case? and (3) Can the voices of the older players be heard in the empirical studies on exergaming in later life? We conducted a narrative literature review to gain insight, not only into the factors relating to older adults’ engaging in exergames, but also into the ways older adults themselves experience playing such games. To avoid a mainly functionalist perspective on play, we will also include hedonic aspects of playing exergames.


Exergaming Older adults Meaningful play Narrative literature review 



This paper is based on the research report ‘The impact of exergames: A panacea for older adults’ wellbeing? Using narrative literature reviews to make sense of exergaming in later life’ for the multi-methodological Ageing+Communication+Technologies (ACT) network ( The author would like to thank ACT for financially supporting this research project (grant 895-2013-1018), the chair “Old and New Media in an Ageing Society” at the University of Amsterdam for the research time and Utrecht University Master’s student Nynke Meijer for her help with the narrative literature review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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