Why hasn't 360 taken over fitness yet?

Are you as confused as we are when it comes to why 360 video hasn’t become as epic for fitness as it has the potential to be? With Virtual Reality and 360-degree technology, there’s a lot more access to fitness that has been made available to individuals who simply didn’t have access to it before. While there is a lot of availability for this in Virtual Reality, it is very confusing to see the lack of progress 360-degree fitness has made in the online community. Let’s discuss how badly 360-degree fitness has flopped and why this is a market that could easily explode if one would only take advantage of it.

Currently Really Bad Videos

When searching for 360 Degree videos on fitness, you will find four legitimate YouTube channels that actually act as a workout section at the time this article was written. Most of the individuals who claim their material is 360 fitness, usually just film themselves in the local gym working out or use the technology to give a virtual tour of the facility. That’s right, there are only four channels dedicated to this type of technology and guess what; Verest, the most prominent channel, receives over a million views on each channel but that’s not entirely because it is fitness savvy. That’s right, this type of technology and workout training is sought out by millions and only four YouTube channels produce such content. Meanwhile, you will find a plethora of workout videos that only provide a single camera view.

Bad Terming: 360 Workout is an actual Workout Name

One horrid part of this mess is that a 360 workout was already an existing type of workout. What is a normal 360 workout? The same thing as a full body workout, but given a different name to make it sound better than a full body workout. Due to this, it’s very hard to identify an actual fitness routine based on 360-degree technology. I think an appropriate term would be R3F, which would stand for Real 360 degree Fitness. However, without being able to have its own term, many who search for this type of technology will find that it is a rough experience.

Bad Quality in 360 Degree Fitness Channels

Of the four viable options, Verest is the only one that provides material that even remotely looks good but it’s hardly something that would become a widespread channel for mass consumption. The videos are shot in 1080p, by Verest and this results in good video quality and clear audio. The remaining four channels provide videos that are grainy and these are barely audible in nature. With a 7.1 Surround Sound system, I had to turn up my volume to the max to listen to them at a normal level, which caused me to jump when I went to another video on YouTube.

Hardly the type of fitness video that you or your partner would watch, Verest is one of the only players in the 360 fitness game today and they're appeal isn't fitness. It's more about watching fit girls workout than getting healthy.
Hardly the type of fitness video that you or your partner would watch, Verest is one of the only players in the 360 fitness game today and they’re appeal isn’t fitness. It’s more about watching fit girls workout than getting healthy.

Why is such quality important? In order to do the exercise properly and to be encouraged during a workout, which is the primary purpose of doing workouts on Youtube, an individual needs to be able to clearly feel as though they are working out with the individual on the screen together. The grand part that 360-degree videos can provide is that you can see people training on either side of you and this technology can utilize the same aspects of Virtual Reality, such as turning the head right will make the video turn right. It’s a low-grade version of Virtual Reality and it’s not properly utilized by fitness groups.

All in all, this industry is literally open to anyone who wants to put their foot into the industry. There’s very little competition out there and this technology has been available for over a year now, but no one has taken advantage of it. It’s understandable if you are a new fitness movement and you can’t afford the equipment, but there are long-standing channels solely based on providing workouts and nutrition that would immediately see an increase in channel activity if they implemented this technology. We obviously should expect more than this simple effort by Livestrong that has no discussion or effort made to engage viewers.

Until larger fitness brands make the leap into VR/AR and 360 with both feet, this will continue. There is hope though. The fact that fitness is becoming a greater presence in the VR community and more experiences are popping up means that the fitness enthusiast will be exposed to much more than what they’re getting from typical channels. That means older brands doing the same old thing will either have to evolve or vanish into obscurity as they are left behind the trend and technology as users migrate to more interactive, more precise, more engaging and ultimately better workout experiences in 360 and VR as a whole.

–Tommy Mertel

Have you seen a really cool VR experience you think we should know about? Leave a comment below so we can check it out!

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