Exergaming (XBOX Kinect™) versus Traditional Gym-based Exercise

Research Paper Title

Exergaming (XBOX Kinect™) versus traditional gym-based exercise for postural control, flow and technology acceptance in healthy adults: a randomised controlled trial.


The use of exergaming is a potential alternative to traditional methods of balance training, which can be repetitive and somewhat monotonous. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of exergaming using XBOX Kinect™ versus traditional gym-based exercise with no virtual stimuli (TGB) on postural control, technology acceptance, flow experience and exercise intensity, in young healthy adults.


Fifty healthy active adults (age: 33.8 ± 12.7 years, height: 172.9 ± 11.9 cm, weight: 75 ± 15.8 kg) were recruited; 44 completed both baseline and post-intervention data collection. Participants were randomised (blind card) allocation to one of two groups:

  1. Received balance training using the XBOX Kinect™; and
  2. Performed traditional gym-based exercise.

Exercises were matched for intensity, duration and movement patterns across groups. All participants completed three, 30-minute, exercise sessions a week for four weeks. Postural sway was measured using a Kistler™ Force platform during unipedal standing. Mean heart rate (HR) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were collected during each exercise session to determine and verify that intensity of exercise was matched between groups. Technology acceptance was measured with the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) and flow experience with the Flow State Scale (FSS).


Heart rate was matched between groups and BORG RPE was significantly lower in the Kinect™ group. There were significant between-group differences in postural sway in the medial-lateral direction and CoP. There were also significant differences in technology acceptance between groups for performance expectancy, social influence and behavioural intention, with higher values in the Kinect exercise group. The flow state scale showed significant differences between the groups on several dimensions, with higher values in the Kinect exercise group.


Objective physiological demand of exercise (HR) was matched across groups, but the exergaming group perceived it as being less demanding and of lower intensity. This suggests that exergaming may offer an alternative method of rehabilitation exercise through improved concordance. Balance training in healthy adults using the Kinect is both accepted and intrinsically motivating.


Barry, G., van Schaik, P., MacSween, A., Dixon, J. & Martin, D. (2016) Exergaming (XBOX Kinect™) versus Traditional Gym-based Exercise for Postural Control, Flow and Technology Acceptance in Healthy Adults: A Randomised Controlled Trial. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation. 8(25). DOI: 10.1186/s13102-016-0050-0.


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