ISSN: 1734-4948
Advances in Rehabilitation
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vol. 37
Original article

The use of digital technologies to promote physical activity in mental healthcare settings: A scoping review

Raquel Simões de Almeida
Ana Paula Soutelo
Paula Portugal
António Marques

LabRP-CIR, ESS, Polytechnic of Porto
Advances in Rehabilitation, 2023, 37(4), 29–40
Online publish date: 2023/11/22
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Over the past decade, there has been an increase of available digital technologies for mental health purposes. At the same time, engaging in regular physical activity has also been shown to promote mental health and well-being, but activity levels are still low in people with mental illness due to several factors.

Material and methods
The aim of this study is to identify and better understand what digital technologies are available for physical activity promotion in mental healthcare contexts. A scoping review was conducted in accordance with the Arksey and O’Malley scoping review framework and the PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Systematic literature searches of PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, Web of Science, and PubMed was performed with a focus on the last ten years.

Overall, 11 papers were included. Data was charted and synthesized, and a narrative synthesis was conducted. This scoping review provided a broad overview regarding what digital tools or technologies are being used, such virtual reality, wearable devices and mobile applications, and the health benefits or barriers associated with its use for people with mental illness in clinical settings. Results also show that digital technologies could promote willingness to engage in physical activity.

Findings could guide further research on how digital technologies for physical activity promotion can effectively be integrated in psychosocial rehabilitation settings and support mental health and recovery.


Physical Activity, Virtual Reality, Mobile Apps, Mental Health, Wearables

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