7 Myths about VR Fitness

There are a lot of people saying VR and Fitness won't ever really mix. Here's exactly why they're wrong!

VR Fitness is not a myth and the HTC Vive is a great reason why!

If you haven’t been hearing a lot about VR lately, you’ve been living under a rock. Virtual reality is beginning to gain grounds in entertainment, education, sports, business, health and fitness. Many think it might add great value to marketing campaigns, video viewing, fitness programs, information sharing and learning given its immersive nature. However, most critics still think it’s all hype and that the technology is doomed to fail like the 3D TV and Google glasses. Here’s a list of the biggest myths when it comes to VR and Fitness you need to watch for and the reasons why they’re totally not to be trusted!

1. Virtual reality fitness training is expensive

For fitness training, the high cost comes when you have to buy the hardware. For instance, an expensive PC that can support virtual reality and a headset can be a lot of money. Some companies are supplying full systems including the PC, fitness training machine, virtual reality headset, and accessories at the tune of $10,000. Other systems such as VrZoom goes for $399 without a $2,000 PC and works with Oculus Rift ($600), PlayStation VR or HTC Vive. Goji Play, a virtual reality cardio machine goes for $119 without PC and VR headset, while Widerun training bike will sell at $450 and will work with Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift.

Although these systems are costly for individuals, many gyms, spas and hotels have them to provide their clients with virtual reality training experiences.

The biggest reason for the high cost is that hardware, including PCs and high-end headsets are expensive. Right now, the best option for individuals seems to sign up with gyms, spas and fitness training facilities that have these systems but that does not mean one cannot buy them for personal home-use. However, things are set to change because for instance, Microsoft has announced that mainstream Windows 10 could start supporting virtual reality. Experts project that the cost of high-end headsets will also fall in the near future, making them accessible to masses.

But cheaper options do exist. The reality is that you could spend just $40 to customize a stationary bike for use together with a $30 Arduino circuit board, Unity environments, iOS app, iPhone 6S Plus, Bluetooth and a $10 Google Cardboard-compatible virtual reality headset, to include virtual reality experiences. This proves that these systems will become cheaper and more affordable. Bottomline: It’s a lot cheaper than some boutique gym memberships and there’s no judgement, line ups at the weight rack and that sweaty guy who doesn’t wear a shirt is nowhere near you. Sounds like a myth just got slammed.

2. Virtual reality is a passing tech

Despite the fact that it is experiencing a lot of difficulty with regard to access of devices by the majority given that it is a new and expensive technology, it is likely that future computers and mobile devices will have capability to play virtual reality.

And has adoption continues to grow, there are many companies such as VirZoom, Munich-based Icaros, and Australia-based Runtastic, among many that are already specializing in virtual reality fitness systems, which means the tech is here to stay. VR and fitness have been talked about as a perfect combination longer than Nintendo and super Mario. It’s not going anywhere but inside every home in less time than you’d think.

3. Virtual reality is only for gamers

While gaming is leading its adoption, virtual reality is already being used for fitness training with several machines and there are already many applications that offer training coaching assistance and experiences for anyone.

While virtual reality is immersive and has new possibilities a regular game console can’t have, new games and sports will finally emerge from it that will be both game and sport and, ultimately, fitness as well. Not to mention that games won’t just be a person hitting buttons. There will be games that make you carry the actual weight of the gun in the Call of Duty and run and jump like in a superhero game. That’s game changing and myth busting on the next level!

4. Virtual reality is solitary and reclusive

Putting on a virtual reality headset is seen by many as antisocial because it secludes you from your real world, but truth be told, virtual reality spaces and environments are now more social, and will be linked with social media in more ways than nearly any technology the world has ever seen. The promise of social media bringing you closer to the world around you hasn’t fallen flat but VR fitness and social together will truly help you gain new friends, play with colleagues, watch videos together and party. Want proof? Virtual reality fitness experiences are now more than wearing a headset. Look no further than something as simple as Holodia where you’re in a virtual reality rowing system and you can train with friends and share your experiences.

Besides, companies are still innovating virtual reality headsets systems that will have mixed reality, multi-room tracking and hand-tracking technologies that bring real physical environments into virtual reality environments in real time, and which could help people move around freely even in physical rooms and be aware of their physical environments while still enjoying virtual reality training experiences.

5. Virtual reality has no ROI

Many companies report a number of benefits after starting to use virtual reality in their operations, including additional customer visits and bookings. It is expected that this will spill into virtual reality fitness training in a very big way. Virtuix Omni, from May this year, now allows anyone to invest through its exercise system. Customers of Holofit—a system designed by France-based Holodia is already shipping throughout France and Europe, and customers who include gyms, hotels and spas are very positive about the system. The company now aims to distribute the system to the Asian and American markets with a new investor only two months after its official launch.

6. Virtual reality is for future application

No single technology got innovated, developed and grew, and adopted at once. It is a process. However, every technology has early adopters that report huge benefits realized long before the tech reaches peak where there is high competition. A number of gyms, spas, training facilities, exhibitions, and hotels, seeing the ripe future of virtual reality fitness training, are beginning to integrate it to their operations and that will continue especially as the technology continues to grow to adapt actual muscle building workouts.

7. Virtual reality fitness training is not supported by studies

There are thousands of studies that support VR as a technology that can make a huge impact on physical fitness, mental fitness, adrenaline use in game experiences, overall health, improved mood, injury rehab and prevention and more. Look no further than the Science section of this website for more proof if you need to see more than the fact that you always push harder when you’re in the moment of a sport, game or real-world situation.

-Jean Roderick

Have you got any insider tips about the world of VR and fitness that you think we need to know? Make a comment below and our editors will get back to you ASAP!