Gamification of Older Adults’ Physical Activity: An Eight-Week Study

Dennis L. Kappen, Pejman Mirza-Babaei, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2018. Gamification of Older Adults’ Physical Activity: An Eight-Week Study. In Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). IEEE.


Designing fitness programs to combat a sedentary lifestyle and foster older adults’ motivation and goalsetting is not yet well-understood beyond point-based systems. To improve older adults’ (over 50 years) health and wellness, we studied a gamified physical activity intervention over eight weeks in an experiment (N=30) with three conditions (gamified, non-gamified, control). Our qualitative analysis showed the gamified group exhibited more engagement and interest in performing physical activity facilitated by technology. Results from our quantitative analysis indicated significance in the perceived competence dimension compared to the nongamified and the control group. Perceived autonomy was significant for the non-gamified group against the control group. The findings from qualitative and quantitative analysis show motivation, enjoyment, and engagement were higher in the gamified group. This provides support for successfully facilitating older adults’ physical activity through gamified technology, which helped us create guidelines for older adults’ adaptive engagement.