BACKGROUND: Physical exercise is an effective lifestyle intervention to improve blood pressure. Although aerobic sports can be performed anywhere, resistance exercises are traditionally performed at the gym; extending the latter to the home setting may promote an increase in the number of practitioners.
OBJECTIVE: This study aims to evaluate a sensor-based system that guides resistance exercises through ambient lighting and sonification (A/S) feedback in a home setting in 34 study participants who were normotensive and prehypertensive.
METHODS: Participants took part in a 1.5-hour exercise session in which they experienced the A/S feedback (ie, experimental condition) as well as a control condition (ie, no feedback) and a reference condition (ie, verbal feedback through a human remote coach). The system was evaluated for improving exercise form (range of motion, timing, and breathing patterns) as well as psychophysiological experience (perceived exertion, attentional focus, competence, and motivation).
RESULTS: A/S feedback was significantly better than the control for concentric (mean 2.48, SD 0.75 seconds; P<.001) and eccentric (mean 2.92, SD 1.05 seconds; P<.001) contraction times, concentric range of motion consistency (mean 15.64, SD 8.31 cm vs mean 17.94, SD 9.75 cm; P<.001), and perceived exertion (mean 3.37, SD 0.78 vs mean 3.64, SD 0.76; P<.001). However, A/S feedback did not outperform verbal feedback on any of these measures. The breathing technique was best in the control condition (ie, without any feedback). Participants did not show more positive changes in perceived competence with A/S feedback or verbal feedback.
CONCLUSIONS: The system seemed to improve resistance exercise execution and perception in comparison with the control, but did not outperform a human tele-coach. Further research is warranted to improve the breathing technique.