The effectiveness of exergames in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: a randomized controlled trial
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Background. Exergames are a well-known type of game based on a virtual avatar's body movements. This high-tech approach promotes an active lifestyle. Objectives. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of exergames on pain, disease activity, functional capacity and quality of life in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Material and Methods. The study involved 60 patients, who were randomized into either the exergame group (EG) or the control group (CG). The EG patients engaged in exergaming, and CG patients did not engage in any exercises. The exergaming sessions were performed five times a week for eight weeks (40 sessions in total). The patients were assessed before and after the eight-week program on a visual analog scale (VAS), the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI), the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) and the Ankylosing Spondylitis Quality of Life (ASQOL) questionnaire. Results. A statistically significant improvement was observed in VAS, BASFI, BASDAI and ASQoL scores in the EG group after completion of the exercise program (p < 0.05). Conclusions. This study is a first step in investigating the possibilities of using an exergame platform to help patients with spondyloarthropathies to adopt a more physically active lifestyle. The results of this study suggest that exergames increase physical activity and decrease the pain scores in AS patients and also could, therefore, be feasible and safe.