Does a Nintendo Wii exercise program provide similar exercise demands as a traditional pulmonary rehabilitation program in adults with COPD?

The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) population can experience lower activity and fitness levels than the non-COPD population. The Nintendo Wii may be an appropriate at-home training device for the COPD population, which could be used as a supplement for a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

This study was a randomized, within-subject, cross-over study involving 10 adults with COPD previously enrolled in St Paul’s Hospital’s pulmonary rehabilitation program. This study attempted to determine if specific Wii activities resulted in similar energy expenditures to that of a more traditional pulmonary rehabilitation activity.

Participants completed two 15-min exercise interventions in a single session, with a washout period of 30 min in-between. The interventions were an experimental Wii intervention and a traditional treadmill intervention.

There was no significant difference in total energy expenditure between the two 15-min exercise interventions [mean difference 36.3 joules; 95% confidence interval (CI): 31.4, 104]. There was no significant difference in heart rate (mean difference -0.167 beats per minute; 95% CI: -4.83, 4.50), rating of perceived exertion (mean difference 0.100; 95% CI: -0.416, 0.616) and Borg dyspnea scale (mean difference 0.267; 95% CI: -0.004, 0.537) between the two 15-min exercise interventions. There was a significant difference in SpO2 between the two 15-min exercise interventions (Wii intervention mean difference 2.33% > treadmill intervention; 95% CI: 1.52, 3.15).

Gaming technology can provide an exercise program that has similar cardiovascular demands to traditional pulmonary rehabilitation programs for patients with COPD. Further research is necessary to address feasibility and long-term adherence.

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