Recent Developments regarding Exergames and Individuals with Disabilities
Keywords:Exergame, physical activity, mood, exercise, disability
Exergames are digital interactive games that require physical movements of upper and lower limbs by the users to achieve simulation with the game screen. Their effects regarding the maintenance of fitness levels and the improvement of their overall health, is proven to be positive. Due to attractiveness, they offer an innovative way to increase physical activity levels of individuals with disabilities. Exergaming may provide both entertainment and multiple benefits for the users while their engagement with the games may produce a positive mood state, socialization, improvement of well-being and good outcomes. Digital environment provides the possibility for the users to participate at the games on equal terms, regardless of academic performance and type of disability. Individuals with disabilities are less physically active compared to individuals without disabilities. As a result, their fitness levels appear to be lower compared to general population and that may cause cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and depression. The main reason for this is the absence of motivation to participate in physical education programs. Therefore, it might be meaningful to increase their physical activity levels using exergames. The purpose of this study was to explore the possible benefits of exergames on individuals with disabilities. To achieve this, an extensive research and record of relevant publications in recent years took place. Results indicate that exergames had positive effects on individuals with disabilities and although they should not replace their participation at exercise programs in real environments, they can be used in combination with exercise programs adapted to their needs. More specifically, results suggest that exergames are useful, attractive, and efficient tools for enhancing physical activity levels and attitudes. Additionally, studies reveal social, emotional, and motor benefits as well as improvements in communication skills contributing positively to the quality of their life.