Gamification as a sustainable source of enjoyment during balance and gait exercises

Katinka van der Kooij*, Rosanne van Dijsseldonk, Milou van Veen, Frans Steenbrink, Coen de Weerd, Krista E. Overvliet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We may be motivated to engage in a certain motor activity because it is instrumental to obtaining reward (e.g., money) or because we enjoy the activity, making it intrinsically rewarding. Enjoyment is related to intrinsic motivation which is considered to be a durable form of motivation. Therefore, many rehabilitation programs aim to increase task enjoyment by adding game elements ("gamification"). Here we ask how the influence of game elements on motivation develops over time and additionally explore whether enjoyment influences motor performance. We describe two different studies that varied game elements in different exercises. Experiment 1 compared the durability of enjoyment for a gamified and a conventional balance exercise in elderly. Experiment 2 addressed the question whether adding game elements to a gait adaptability exercise enhances the durability of enjoyment and additionally tested whether the game elements influenced movement vigor and accuracy (motor performance). The results show that the game elements enhanced enjoyment. Enjoyment faded over time, but this decrease tended to be less pronounced in gamified exercises. There was no evidence that the game elements affected movement vigor or accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number294
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberMARCH
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


We thank SilverFit for providing the SilverFit equipment and software used in Experiment and for providing technical support. We also thank Jasper van de Lagemaat, Simone van Wezel, Pieter van Doorn, and Theo Zondag for testing participants.The research was funded by Stichting Technologie en Wetenschap (STW) Open Technologie Programma (OTP) grant 12668 awarded to Jeroen Smeets. KO was additionally supported by a Marie-Curie IEF grant by the European Commission (624297).

FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme624297
European Commission


    • Exercise
    • Gait
    • Motivation
    • Pleasure
    • Postural balance
    • Psychomotor performance
    • Reward
    • Video games


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