Effect of exergames on physical outcomes in frail elderly: a systematic review

  • Lufang Zheng
  • Guichen Li
  • Xinxin Wang
  • Huiru Yin
  • Yong Jia
  • Minmin Leng
  • Hongyan LiEmail author
  • Li ChenEmail author



The aim of this systematic review was to understand the exergames that can be applied to the pre-frail and frail elderly people, to evaluate whether these games have a positive impact on physical outcomes in pre-frail and frail older adults, and to explore userʼs subjective feelings and compliance.


PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched until January 15, 2019. Only randomized controlled trials published in English for human beings were eligible. The review included studies which examined the effects of exergames on physical outcomes, feasibility and/or subjective feelings of pre-frail and frail older adults. Two researchers assessed the risk bias of all articles independently using the Cochrane collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias.


Seven randomized controlled trials with 243 pre-frail and frail older adults met inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Results of the studies were heterogeneous. Physical outcomes (included muscle strength, balance ability, mobility function, gait and falls), subjective feeling outcomes, feasibility, attendance and some other functional outcomes were reported.


Exergames improved balance and mobility function of frail elderly, and it showed a tendency to increase muscle strength when combined with resistance training. As far as the limited evidence was concerned, exergames were feasible and generally accepted by participants.


Exergame Frail elderly Balance ability Mobility function Systematic review 



Funding received from the 13th Five-Year Plan science and technology research project of the Education Department of Jilin Province (JJKH20190006KJ) and the industrial technology research and development project of the Development and Reform Commission of Jilin Province (2019C047-4).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Statement of human and animals rights

This review reports no participant data or original research findings that require ethics approval.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.The First Hospital of Jilin UniversityChangchunChina
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacology, College of Basic Medical SciencesJilin UniversityChangchunChina

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