Aerobic Stimulus Induced by Virtual Reality Games in Stroke Survivors

Published:February 08, 2018DOI:



      To evaluate whether virtual reality games (VRGs) in stroke survivors produce significant and reproducible heart rate and oxygen consumption ( V ˙ o2) responses during their execution, corresponding to an intensity between the anaerobic threshold (AT) and the respiratory compensation point (RCP).


      Single-subject, repeated-measure design.


      Stroke survivors registered from a rehabilitation program.


      Chronic hemiparetic stroke survivors (N=12; 10 men; mean age ± SD, 58±12y) rated at 3 or 4 in the Functional Ambulation Categories.


      Participants underwent, in a random order, 2 identical sessions of VRGs (console Xbox 360 + Kinect) and 1 control session (38min watching a movie). The VRG sessions were composed of 4 sets of VRGs (3min of tennis, 1min for changing the game, and 4min of boxing) interspaced with 2 minutes of rest.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Heart rate and V ˙ o2 were measured during the experimental sessions and compared with heart rate and V ˙ o2 obtained at AT and RCP assessed during a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test.


      Heart rate and V ˙ o2 during VRGs had good reproducibility (intraclass correlation coefficients, ≥.91 and ≥.85, respectively; coefficients of variation, ≤6.7% and ≤13.7%, respectively). Heart rate during VRGs was similar to AT and significantly lower than RCP (P≤.05), while V ˙ o2 was significantly lower than AT and RCP (P<.05).


      An acute session of VRGs composed of tennis and boxing games using the console XBox 360 + Kinect promotes reproducible responses of heart rate and V ˙ o2 that corresponded, respectively, to AT and below AT, characterizing a low-intensity aerobic stimulus.


      List of abbreviations:

      AT (anaerobic threshold), bpm (beats per minute), CPET (cardiopulmonary exercise test), RCP (respiratory compensation point), o2 (oxygen consumption), VRG (virtual reality game)
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