The Heart-exergame study

In general, everybody is recommended to be active for at least 150 minutes/week to improve health. Physical activity helps us to participate in daily life activities, stay independent for a longer time and improve our quality of life. A high sedentary time (‘sitting time’) is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular as well as all-cause mortality.

Background and purpose

Heart-exg training exercise
A new approach to increase physical activity at home is the use of exergames. An exergame is defined as the playing of digital games that requires physical exercise, that is intended as a work-out and during which the participant moves large muscle groups in response to cues. Exergames are recognised to have much to offer in terms of increasing physical activity.

The overall purpose of the study is to determine the effectiveness of tailored exergaming (Heart Farming) at home for inactive patients with chronic heart failure to decrease their sedentary time, improve their daily physical activity, exercise capacity, decrease frailty and improve quality of life.

Our exergame: Specifically for this target group (inactive elderly persons with a chronic disease) we developed with end users an exergame called Heart Farming.

The Heart Farming is an exergame that uses so called mobile Augmented Reality (AR) motion. The game is distributed via Google Play (for android) and AppStore (for iOS). The game can be played both indoors and outdoors and stimulates players to be physically active, either by walking or sit to stand movements tracked by AR mobile technology. The game is built around a theme farming that gives the players a simulated experience of managing a farm and have some fun at the same time. Farm games are popular, since they are visual and players can grow new crop, they can be goal-oriented, and players can set individual goals without feeling any pressure.

Read more about the exergame here.

Heart-exg

Study design

We will perform a randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of the Heart-Exergame intervention.

The main research question is:

Can tailored exergaming at home reduce sedentary time, increase daily physical activity, increase submaximal exercise capacity, decrease physical frailty and increase health related quality of life in inactive persons with heart failure compared to a control group receiving activity advice only?

Heart-exg

The study is a single-blind (evaluator and analyst blinded) parallel two-arm randomized multicentre controlled study with 1:1 allocation to intervention and control group. In total 600 patients will be recruited from ten hospitals and randomized to an intervention of exergaming at home for 12 weeks or a control group receiving individual physical activity advice.

Exergame Heart Farming

The Heart Farming is an exergame that uses so called mobile Augmented Reality (AR) motion. The game is distributed via Google Play (for android) and AppStore (for iOS). The game can be played both indoors and outdoors and stimulates players to be physically active, either by walking or sit to stand movements tracked by AR mobile technology. The game is built around a theme farming that gives the players a simulated experience of managing a farm and have some fun at the same time. Farm games are popular, since they are visual and players can grow new crop, they can be goal-oriented, and players can set individual goals without feeling any pressure.

App store description

Take care of your fields, go out into the woods to pick mushrooms, fish, and trade with neighbours.

Heart Farming allows you to manage your farm. You plan activities in the game and go in the real world to perform them. Collect and unlock new fields, resources, and levels to become the best Farmer in town!

You can play Heart Farming anytime, anywhere… You can walk indoors or outdoors. You do not have to look at the screen when you walk. However, the phone's camera must see so you can not put the phone in the pocket completely. The game is developed and used in a research study about physical activity conducted via Linköping University in Sweden. Heart farming uses mobile AR to measures your physical movement distance (anonymized). The game available in English, Swedish.

You can download the game for free here.

Publications

A study of stimulating physical activity for elderlt people with a chronic condition.

Askenäs L, Aidemark J, Jaarsma T, Strömberg A, Klompstra L. Co-design to self-organizing exergaming - A study of stimulating physical activity for elderlt people with a chronic condition. International Conferences Internet Technologies & Society 2019 and Sustainability, Technology and Education 2019; 2019; Algarve, Portugal; 2019.

Conference presentations

ACNAP-EuroHeartCare 2022, Madrid Spain
Poster presentation: Development of a mobile exergame for increasing physical activity in patients with heart failure
L. Klompstra1, A. Stromberg1, A. Berglund2, E. Berglund2, J. Fallstrom2, H. Oradd2, T. Jaarsma1
(1) Linkoping University, Department of Social and Welfare studies, Linkoping, Sweden (2) Linkoping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, Linkoping, Sweden

Funding

Logotype of Vetenskapsrådet

Logotype of FKS

Logotype of Forss

Logotype of Hjärt & Lungfonden

Research team