SPORTS scientists held an 'exergaming' event for people who have multiple sclerosis.
Essex University joined forces with Colchester-based charity MS-UK for the event.
Exergaming sees people use their bodies to control a computer game.
A competition was held to show how specifically-designed exergames for people with MS provide a rehabilitative tool and help prevent falls.
It also aims to encourage continuity in training, be convenient for the participants, be less tiring than traditional falls prevention training and be enjoyable.
Researchers at Essex have been looking into the benefits of exergaming and a successful pilot study was recently carried out at Joseph’s Court in Colchester in collaboration with the MS-UK.
The feedback from the people who trialled the games was very positive and the team are looking to fund further research.
The event at the University’s sport laboratories involved trialling the VirtualRehab software which offers bespoke games for people with MS using the motion capture technology of the Kinect game console.
Emeritus Professor Chris Cooper, from the School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, said: “The real beauty of exergaming is that the game environment makes exercise enjoyable. I was particularly happy, as a person with multiple sclerosis myself, to collaborate with the charity MS-UK to hold a competition demonstrating this software in the University’s Sports Arena.
“People with MS should be able to enjoy healthy, physical competition and exergaming gives them that opportunity, as well as having potential therapeutic benefits. The long term research aim is that events such as these develop sufficient interest to fund a clinical trial.
"If exergaming can be show to improve health, it will be easier to get funding to roll out its use in a wide variety of conditions.”