VR Exercise? What is it?
Need a new way to exercise? Why not try a VR headset and game? Yes, it appears that VR fitness is becoming more popular by the day. The technology has been here for years now, but using a VR system for fitness is only just becoming a popular trend. And honestly, it makes a lot of sense why. From being able to work out in the privacy of your own home (or setting of your choice) to getting to make fun out of fitness. There are many reasons why VR exercise is a viable option. You are the controller and you are in control.
But if you want to get in on the trend, here’s all the info you need to know. The why, the how, the how much, and more.
Why Does It Work?
First, why does it work? Well, as explained before, there are a few specific reasons. It’s accessible, it’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s your choice. But, let’s break it down a little more.
1. Variety Of Options
First and foremost, VR fitness doesn’t have to feel like fitness. Now, of course, you can find a game or program that is built for the VR experience that is also a legitimate workout. If you want a fully conscious VR fitness program, you can find that. No problem. The thing is, you can still get a workout without having to work out (if you catch our drift).
But that’s not all, the thing about using a VR system is that you can do those traditional fitness programs… or you could do something else. There are plenty of games available in VR systems. These games may not be focused on exercise, but the effort you put out for these games also count in the VR fitness world. They get you up and moving. And more often than not, they get you moving, and exercising, more than you realize.
2. Making Exercise A Game
But why does VR Fitness work despite not always actually being about fitness? Because it’s fun and that fun makes it easier to exercise. In fact, scientists have even found this to be true. Research finds that went participating in the recreational activity of the VR experience, we are focused on the recreation. That then lowers our inherent blocks and worries around exercising. Because of that, we end up exerting ourselves more than if we were aware that we were working out and being physically active. It’s always about perspective and the way that you think about the activity.
“We hypothesize that VR technology induces a higher perceptual load when compared to music and control conditions, which prevent exercise‐related interoceptive cues from entering focal awareness,” says a Brunel University study in the British Journal of Health Psychology.
On top of that, VR systems make working out competitive. Think back to playing video games as a kid. If you ever played a great competitive game like Halo, Mario Party, Super Smash Bros., or Mortal Kombat, you’ll know how hyped you can get from a video game. Now, put on a headset and revisit that childhood competitiveness. Only, now you’re putting your whole body into it. See how you can end up breaking a sweat? And weirdly, you’ll love every second of it.
3. Can Be A Family Activity
On that matter, you could also make the VR fitness experience a family or friend experience too. Take turns trying to get the best score. Actually compete amongst yourselves to encourage harder play and, inadvertently, a harder workout. Or, you can be fully conscious of the exercise possibilities and use the system to help your family or friends stay fit. Imagine your grandmother, your child, your sibling, your best friend, and more having fun while also staying healthy. Isn’t that image great?
Lastly, the ease of exercising in a setting that you chose and have control over is great. You can stay indoors and still get a good workout in. You can also not worry about having to compare yourself to others in the same way you would at the gym. Comparing a high score is nowhere near as damaging to your mental health as comparing weight sizes, muscle span, or something else like that. There’s a blessing in the privacy of working out with a VR system.
Types Of VR Headsets
So with all of that in mind, where can you get a VR system? And, how much is it gonna cost you? Well, luckily, there are many options out there. Now, we’re not gonna lie to you and say that you can get a VR system for free. In all fairness, the standard headset will cost you a couple hundred dollars. While there are some cheap options out there, you want to stick to the average range of $400 or up. Anything cheaper than that might not be worth the purchase. Though, sales can happen from time to time.
But what are the options? Well, you could get the Oculus headset ($400, amazon.com). Though, that’s not all. Next, you could look into the HTC Vive ($799, amazon.com). Or, maybe the Sony Playstation VR ($600 for a bundle, amazon.com) is more your speed. These games are all of the standard options currently available in the VR system world.
Types of VR Games
The thing is, that’s still not the end. You still have to buy games. And nowadays, games are not cheap. You could buy a VR game for anywhere between $30-$60. But again, sales are your friend.
Some good games to consider are:
- FitXR. This is one of those fitness-focused games. It offers boxing and dance programs for beginners and experts. Of course, you can chose your level of experience. You can get a variety of exercise intensities, dynamic workout times, and trainer feedback.
- Beat Saber. This game is the opposite of FITXR. While FitXR specifically made for fitness, beat saber is made for fun. But as explained above, it can get you to work out without you realizing it. This is a rhythm game that has you swiping sabers to slice through moving objects. The thing is, you have to swipe at them on beat. Trust us when we say this game is addictive and adrenaline-inducing. Your heart rate will be RACING by the end.
- Sparc. Want to play virtual dodgeball? Well, now you can with this game. This game has 2 balls being thrown, blocked, or bounded at all times. You can imagine how that will get you moving around and being active. And, again, it’s all for fun and not necessarily for fitness. Though, you get the best of both worlds from it.
VR fitness is a new option for those wanting to entertain themselves and stay healthy. But the question is, is it the right option for you?