Open Access
Stetson , Taylor
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sayers John Miller Iii, Thesis Supervisor
  • Giampietro Luciano Vairo, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stephen Jacob Piazza, Honors Advisor
  • Dynamic postural control
  • balance
  • Wii
  • Video Game-based training
The Effects of Video Game-Based Balance Training on Dynamic Postural Control in Healthy Young Adults Stetson TM*, Vairo GL*, Miller SJ*, Messina RM*, Sebastianelli WJ†: *Athletic Training Research Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; †Penn State | Hershey Orthopaedics – State College, State College PA Context: Evidence has suggested video game-based balance training to be comparable to traditional balance training in effectiveness, while exhibiting higher amounts of interest and enjoyment by participants. However, more research needs to be done on the various commercially available balance training video game systems, and different populations, to validate these claims. Objective: To study the effects of a video game-based balance training regimen on dynamic postural control in healthy young adults. It was hypothesized that the experimental Wii Balance Board group would show greater improvements in dynamic postural control than the control group after the 4-week training regimen. Design and Settings: Pretest-posttest control group experimental design. This study was conducted in a controlled laboratory environment. Participants: 16 (eight men, eight women) healthy college aged participants were randomly allocated to the Wii Balance Board experimental group (age= 19.8 ± 0.8 years, height =1.7 ± 0.9 m, mass = 68.5 ± 13.4 kg, BMI = 22.8 ± 3.7 kg/m2, Tegner activity level = 6.3 ±1.7) and 16 (eight men, eight women) matched healthy participants( age = 20.2 ± 1.2 years, height = 1.7 ± 1.1 m, mass = 72.7 ± 17.6 kg, BMI = 24.1 ± 4.8 kg/m2, Tegner activity level = 6.1 ± 1.1) were assigned to the control group. No participants had history of lower body/back injuries, and were not diagnosed with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy or epilepsy. Intervention: Both the experimental Wii balance board group and control group underwent 4 weeks of Wii training. Training sessions were 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days for 15 minutes each. The experimental Wii™ Balance Board training sessions consisted of playing a specified set of levels in a snowboarding game using the Wii™ Balance Board and the Wii™ remote. The control group played the same levels for the same amount of time in a seating position, using only the Wii remote in a seated position. Measurements: A modified balance reach test was used to test postural control. Three trials were performed in each of the specified directions, anterior, posterolateral, and posteromedial. The maximum distance in each direction was recorded and normalized to the participant’s leg length (%MAXD). Paired t-tests were calculated to analyze statistically significant within group differences between the pretest and posttest measures per leg for each dependent variable of interest. Two-sample t-tests were calculated to analyze statistically significant differences among groups per leg for each dependent variable of interest. A probability level of P ≤ 0.05 was set a priori to denote statistical significance. . Results: In the pretest-posttest measure participants in the Wii™ Balance Board group demonstrated statistically significant improvements in the directions of posteromedial (Pre = 81.8 ± 9.4cm, Post = 86.3 ± 7.1cm P=0.001) and posterolateral (Pre=76.7 ± 10.2cm, Post=80.3 ± 7.2cm, P=0.015) for the dominant leg and significant improvements in the posterolateral (Pre= 74.0 ± 9.7 cm, Post=77.7 ± 9.3cm, P=0.020) directions for the nondominant leg. The control group exhibited significant gains in posterolateral direction of the dominant leg. In the between group measures it was found that for both the dominant (Balance Board =77.2 ± 5.4cm, Control= 73.0 ± 6.5cm, P=0.028) and nondominant (Balance Board =75.2 ± 5.2 cm, Control=71.5 ± 6.8cm, P=0.048) leg there were only statistically significant improvements in the anterior direction. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that a Wii video game-based training regimen completed on a balance board, or in a seated position, increased participants’ dynamic postural control. Further research is warranted to examine the effects of action observation and observational training on dynamic postural control when using video game-based training. Word Count: 589