This study examined the effects of a giant (4×3 m) exercising board game intervention on ambulatory physical activity (PA) and a broader array of physical and psychological outcomes among nursing home residents.
A quasi-experimental longitudinal study was carried out in two comparable nursing homes. Ten participants (aged 82.5±6.3 and comprising 6 women) meeting the inclusion criteria took part in the 1-month intervention in one nursing home, whereas 11 participants (aged 89.9±3.1 with 8 women) were assigned to the control group in the other nursing home. The giant exercising board game required participants to per-form strength, flexibility, balance and endurance activities. The assistance provided by an exercising specialist decreased gradually during the intervention in an autonomy-oriented approach based on the self-determination theory. The following were assessed at baseline, after the intervention and after a follow-up period of 3 months: PA (steps/day and energy expenditure/day with ActiGraph), cognitive status (mini mental state examination), quality of life (EuroQol 5-dimensions), motivation for PA (Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2), gait and balance (Tinetti and Short Physical Performance Battery), functional mobility (timed up and go), and the muscular isometric strength of the lower limb muscles.
In the intervention group, PA increased from 2,921 steps/day at baseline to 3,358 steps/day after the intervention (+14.9%, P=0.04) and 4,083 steps/day (+39.8%, P=0.03) after 3 months. Energy expenditure/day also increased after the intervention (+110 kcal/day, +6.3%, P=0.01) and after 3 months (+219 kcal/day, +12.3%, P=0.02). Quality of life (P<0.05), balance and gait (P<0.05), and strength of the ankle (P<0.05) were also improved after 3 months. Such improvements were not observed in the control group. The preliminary results are promising but further investigation is required to confirm and evaluate the long-term effectiveness of PA interventions in nursing homes.