Published online May 26, 2013. doi: 10.13105/wjma.v1.i1.27
Revised: April 16, 2013
Accepted: May 9, 2013
Published online: May 26, 2013
AIM: To summarize the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the rehabilitation effects of recreational activities.
METHODS: Studies were eligible if they were RCTs. Studies included one treatment group in which recreational activity was applied. We searched the following databases from 1990 to May 31, 2012: MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Ichushi-Web. We also searched all Cochrane Databases and Campbell Systematic Reviews up to May 31, 2012.
RESULTS: Eleven RCTs were identified, which included many kinds of target diseases and/or symptoms such as stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, acquired brain injury, chronic non-malignant pain, adolescent obesity, high-risk pregnancy, and the frail elderly. Various intervention methods included gaming technology, music, dance, easy rider wheelchair biking, leisure education programs, and leisure tasks. The RCTs conducted have been of relatively low quality. A meta-analysis (pooled sample; n = 44, two RCTs) for balance ability using tests such as “Berg Balance Scale” and “Timed Up and Go Test” based on game intervention revealed no significant difference between interventions and controls. In all other interventions, there were one or more effects on psychological status, balance or motor function, and adherence as primary or secondary outcomes.
CONCLUSION: There is a potential for recreational activities to improve rehabilitation-related outcomes, particularly in psychological status, balance or motor function, and adherence.
Core tip: This is the first systematic review of the effectiveness of rehabilitation based on recreational activities. There is a potential for recreational activities to improve rehabilitation-related outcomes, particularly in psychological status (depression, mood, emotion, and power), balance or motor function, and adherence (feasibility and attendance). To most effectively assess the potential benefits of recreational activities for rehabilitation, it will be important for further research to utilize (1) randomized controlled trials methodology (person unit or cluster unit) when appropriate; (2) an intervention dose; (3) a description of adverse effects and withdrawals; and (4) the cost of recreational activities.