A pilot trial of a videogame-based exercise program for methadone maintained patients

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Oct;47(4):299-305. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.05.007. Epub 2014 Jun 10.


Few studies have examined exercise as a substance use disorder treatment. This pilot study investigated the feasibility and acceptability of an exercise intervention comprising the Wii Fit Plus™ and of a time-and-attention sedentary control comprising Wii™ videogames. We also explored their impact on physical activity levels, substance use, and psychological wellness. Twenty-nine methadone-maintained patients enrolled in an 8-week trial were randomly assigned to either Active Game Play (Wii Fit Plus™ videogames involving physical exertion) or Sedentary Game Play (Wii™ videogames played while sitting). Participants had high satisfaction and study completion rates. Active Game Play participants reported greater physical activity outside the intervention than Sedentary Game Play participants despite no such differences at baseline. Substance use decreased and stress and optimism improved in both conditions. Active Game Play is a feasible and acceptable exercise intervention, and Sedentary Game Play is a promising time-and-attention control. Further investigations of these interventions are warranted.

Keywords: Exercise; Methadone; Opioid-related disorders; Video games.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methadone / therapeutic use*
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Exertion
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Video Games


  • Methadone