A Pilot Study of the Efficacy of Interactive Virtual Reality Sports on Balance Performance among Older Women

Bala S. Rajaratnam,, Ho Wei Fang, Vanessa Goh Yock Jun, Stella Hong Yan Chai, Doris Lim Yan Shan

Abstract


This randomized control pilot study quantified the efficacy of interactive virtual reality golf training on balance performance among community mobile older person. Eight older women were assigned randomly to a conventional mat exercises program group (n = 4, mean age = 51 ± 1.6 years old) or an experimental group that participated in interactive virtual reality golf (n = 4, mean age = 53.5 ± 1.4 years old). Balance assessments of all participants included Multi-Directional Reach Test (MDRT), Step Up Test (SUT), Double Leg Static Balance (DLSB) with eyes open and closed and excursion of centre of pressure (COP) sway quantified with a force plate. One subject dropped out from the experimental group and three subjects from the conventional mat exercise group due to work commitments to complete the once a week study for four weeks. No significant differences in base-line balance abilities were found between groups. The experiment group did not have significant improvements in balance capability compared with control subjects (MDRT p = 0.16-0.66; SUT p = 0.05; COP during DLSB p = 0.18-0.66). However, virtual reality golf intervention improved medial-lateral sway by 57.24% during DLSB compared to 14.99% after floor-mat exercises. The improvement in COP during DLSB after interactive virtual reality golf hints towards improved postural control. Further studies with a larger population should explore using off-the shelf interactive virtual reality sports for balance training. This novel technology can complement rehabilitation programs.

Keywords


Virtual reality; golf; postural sway; balance; older women

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