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Virtual reality (VR) is the “next big thing” in the technology world. But would you think that virtual reality exercise might be the “next big thing” in the fitness and workout world?
Don’t scoff – it very well may the case. If nothing else, VR could be a way to help motivate people to get off the couch and exercise when more traditional methods fail. Here are 7 virtual reality exercise trends to keep an eye out for.
It doesn’t matter how motivated or disciplined you are – cardiovascular exercise can still get boring. However, virtual reality exercise could change that. Systems like VirZOOM connect VR equipment to cardio machines in order to turn it all into an interactive game. No longer are you just riding an exercise bike. Instead, you’re participating in a VR game in which you ride your exercise bike to score points and unlock new achievements.
Have you ever wanted to be an archer? Learn how to wield a sword? Climb on a horse and joust? While most of these activities are out of reach (or simply not practiced) anymore, this is not the case for virtual reality. Don your VR equipment, download an app, and you can not only find yourself immersed in long lost cultures, but actively mimicking fighting skills to get your exercise.
It’s no secret in the gaming world that first person shooters (FPS) are huge. The next evolution of these games could actually be virtual reality exercise. Instead of just watching a screen and holding a controller, you can put on your VR equipment, then walk, run, duck, fight, and more just like a real soldier. All this exercise will have you burning calories you don’t even realize you’re burning.
Not everyone can afford a personal trainer. Moreover, others may feel intimidated in a gym setting. However, virtual reality exercise can couple you with a virtual trainer in a scenario that you find comfortable, as well as demanding. Both of these can lead to you being more focused on your workout and not even recognizing that you’re working as hard as you are.
In fact, a paper published by Studies in Health Technology and Informatics found this very thing to be true. As cited in a summary published at PubMed, “In VR feedback conditions, we observed a decreased level of perceived exertion and an increased level of enjoyment of physical activity, when compared to a regular exercise situation (no VR feedback).”
Riding a spin bike might be boring and cycling through your neighborhood might seem “blah”. But what if you could ride your bike through outer space? Or around a track placed on top of skyscrapers well about the city? This is what “immersion fitness” is about and is the goal of one Hong Kong fitness business called Pure Fitness. Such experiences could be right around the corner with VR equipment in your own home.
Simple little games on your smart phone have revolutionized the gaming and app world. But what if you could immerse yourself fully in these games? Such a thing is possible with virtual reality exercise. Instead of swiping your thumb across your screen, you’re actually ducking virtual flying bananas and jumping over virtual blocks. You’re now the character in the game, meaning you’re the one doing all the movement…not to mention getting all the physical benefit.
Maybe you don’t need something as drastic as pretending you’re a medieval knight or simulating riding a winged Pegasus through outer space. Maybe you just live at the beach and would like to cycle through the mountains. Or maybe you live in the mountains and would like to go for a run on the beach. VR equipment and the right app could make that possible.
VR exercise might not be in every household or fitness studio yet, but it’s not that far off. By allowing you to immerse yourself in completely new realities, you can have fun, simulate new activities never before possible, learn new skills, and those who don’t enjoy exercise may now have something to look forward to. Perhaps best of all, you can get the benefits of exercise without even feeling like you’re working out.