Increasing physical activity for individuals with intellectual disability through indoor bike cycling and exergaming
Studies reveal that individuals with intellectual disabilities have more sedentary lifestyles than the general population. Regular physical activity is of both medical and social importance, reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Health organizations recommend that everyone should at least engage in 150 minutes of physical activity each week because of the beneficial health effects. There exist several technical solutions that aim to encourage physical activity. Among these solutions are exergames, where the users must move their body to control game-objects. The idea behind exergames is that a user needs to engage in physical activity in order to play the video game. The point is that it should motivate the user to perform physical activity. Exergames comes in several forms and types on the market today. However, most of them are not user-friendly for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The video-game designs do not adapt to the many challenges that are present for this group. In this project we developed hardware and software modules to record the amount of physical activity on an indoor stationary bicycle and an ergometer bike. An app receives the recorded activity data and uses it to display entertainment for the user, which makes the app an exergame. The design and development process uses knowledge about individuals with intellectual disabilities to customize the system for this group. Information about individuals with intellectual disability has been gathered through literature searches, conferring with experts, talking with parents of children with intellectual disability, and staff working at institutions providing services for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The system is tested at an institution where several individuals with an intellectual disability could try it out. Feedback from testing indicates that the users with an intellectual disability enjoyed using the system, and it was a useful tool for the staff to promote physical activity for the users at the institution. Testing also gave valuable information on what should be included in the further development of the system to improve it. This project has shown that with close user interaction during the development, it is possible to create promising technical solutions for individuals with intellectual disability. The results of this project provide valuable information on beneficial technological interventions for individuals with intellectual disabilities to promote regular physical activity.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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