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Review

The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Exercise on Individual’s Physiological, Psychological and Rehabilitative Outcomes: A Systematic Review

1
School of Kinesiology, the University of Minnesota, 1900 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
2
Department of Physical Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Minhang District, Shanghai 200240, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4133; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114133
Received: 29 April 2020 / Revised: 28 May 2020 / Accepted: 7 June 2020 / Published: 10 June 2020
Objective purpose: This review synthesized the literature examining the effects of virtual reality (VR)-based exercise on physiological, psychological, and rehabilitative outcomes in various populations. Design: A systematic review. Data sources: 246 articles were retrieved using key words, such as “VR”, “exercise intervention”, “physiological”, “psychology”, and “rehabilitation” through nine databases including Academic Search Premier and PubMed. Eligibility criteria for selecting studies: 15 articles which met the following criteria were included in the review: (1) peer-reviewed; (2) published in English; (3) randomized controlled trials (RCTs), controlled trials or causal-comparative design; (4) interventions using VR devices; and (5) examined effects on physiological, psychological, and/or rehabilitative outcomes. Descriptive and thematic analyses were used. Results: Of the 12 articles examining physiological outcomes, eight showed a positive effect on physical fitness, muscle strength, balance, and extremity function. Only four articles examined the effects on psychological outcomes, three showed positive effects such that VR exercise could ease fatigue, tension, and depression and induce calmness and enhance quality of life. Nine articles investigated the effects of VR-based exercise on rehabilitative outcomes with physiological and/or psychological outcomes, and six observed significant positive changes. In detail, patients who suffered from chronic stroke, hemodialysis, spinal-cord injury, cerebral palsy in early ages, and cognitive decline usually saw better improvements using VR-based exercise. Conclusion: The findings suggest that VR exercise has the potential to exert a positive impact on individual’s physiological, psychological, and rehabilitative outcomes compared with traditional exercise. However, the quality, quantity, and sample size of existing studies are far from ideal. Therefore, more rigorous studies are needed to confirm the observed positive effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: health promotion; immersive virtual reality; non-immersive virtual reality; interactive virtual reality; physical activity health promotion; immersive virtual reality; non-immersive virtual reality; interactive virtual reality; physical activity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Qian, J.; McDonough, D.J.; Gao, Z. The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Exercise on Individual’s Physiological, Psychological and Rehabilitative Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4133. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114133

AMA Style

Qian J, McDonough DJ, Gao Z. The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Exercise on Individual’s Physiological, Psychological and Rehabilitative Outcomes: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(11):4133. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114133

Chicago/Turabian Style

Qian, Jiali, Daniel J. McDonough, and Zan Gao. 2020. "The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Exercise on Individual’s Physiological, Psychological and Rehabilitative Outcomes: A Systematic Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 11: 4133. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114133

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