Counting Repetitions: An Observational Study of Video Game Play in People With Chronic Poststroke Hemiparesis

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Background and Purpose:

The use of video gaming as a therapeutic intervention has increased in popularity; however, the number of repetitions in comparison with traditional therapy methods has yet to be investigated. The primary purpose of this study was to document and compare the number of repetitions performed while playing 1 of 2 video gaming systems for a time frame similar to that of a traditional therapy session in individuals with chronic stroke.


Twelve participants with chronic stroke (mean age, 66.8 ± 8.2 years; time poststroke, 19.2 ± 15.4 months) completed video game play sessions, using either the Nintendo Wii or the Playstation 2 EyeToy. A total of 203 sessions were captured on video record; of these, 50 sessions for each gaming system were randomly selected for analysis. For each selected record, active upper and lower extremity repetitions were counted for a 36-minute segment of the recorded session.


The Playstation 2 EyeToy group produced an average of 302.5 (228.1) upper extremity active movements and 189.3 (98.3) weight shifts, significantly higher than the Nintendo Wii group, which produced an average of 61.9 (65.7) upper extremity active movements and 109.7 (78.5) weight shifts. No significant differences were found in steps and other lower extremity active movements between the 2 systems.

Discussion and Conclusions:

The Playstation 2 EyeToy group produced more upper extremity active movements and weight shifting movements than the Nintendo Wii group; the number and type of repetitions varied across games. Active gaming (specifically Playstation 2 EyeToy) provided more upper extremity repetitions than those reported in the literature by using traditional therapy, suggesting that it may be a modality to promote increased active movements in individuals poststroke.

Discussion and Conclusions:

Video Abstract available (see Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, for more insights from the authors.

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