As the bards have told, you may have heard that Skyrim VR is the best thing to happen to virtual reality since virtual sliced bread. Not only is Skyrim VR easy to mod but did you know you can burn up to 450-550 calories per hour with a few mental/physical tweaks? 

If you think we’re sipping skooma then you’re mistaken my friend. This guy lost 10 lbs in a couple weeks (probably water weight) and then there’s my 4 hour 1200-1800 cal Skyrim workout. But this begs the question: How exactly does one use Skyrim VR for exercise?

This article will focus on a few simple ways to turn Skyrim from a 100 hour, back hunching, thumb stressor into a legitimate VR workout that can be used to burn calories while fulfilling your destiny as Dragonborn. 

Preparation

There are a few different ways we can add some low impact cardio to Skyrim VR to make it a true workout.

  1. Manual Jogging
  2. Natural Locomotion
  3. Weighted Vest
  4. Adding Immersive Mods
  5. Be a Brawler

The nice thing about this workout is that it’s low impact cardio so you likely won’t get a sweaty/foggy headset like you might with an extended session of Thrill of the Fight or some of the more intense VR workouts. Also, unlike traditional workouts, there’s very little pain here. When I play, I typically do so for 3-4 hours at a time. Everyone is different and depending on your preference you may want to do all or none of these. Before we go any further let’s break down the workout into its basic elements.

The basis of what we’re doing here is jogging in place. Now before you click off and say something like, “Jogging in place isn’t a workout” we have to look at the workout in context. My first question is, when is the last time you jogged in place? Probably never. Why? Because, even if you’d thought about it, its a dull practice and you’d assume the benefits do not outweigh the boredom. The good news is Skyrim scenery is anything but boring.

Try finding this running path in your neighborhood

That’s beautiful and all but is jogging in place a real workout? Depending on who you talk to, an average man from 150-160 lbs will burn 360-500 calories per hour by simply jogging in place. Surprised? You should be. Now, let’s go over how we can combine jogging in place with the majesty of Skyrim VR.

Manual Jogging

Let’s start with the basics of jogging in place. A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Pump your arms
  2. Roll through the balls of your foot (stay on your toes)
  3. Land as lightly as you can

Pretty simple steps and it’ll become natural after a few minutes. Depending on your goal, there are a couple different ways to jog in place.

You can jog softly like this guy:

Or you can challenge yourself like this guy:

The most important thing to remember is to lift our legs and keep your arms going. But how do we incorporate this with VR?

Basic Steps:

  1. On the Vive, set Room Setup to “Standing Room.” This will put a circle in the middle of the room.
  2. Take a mat and place it (in the real world) where the circle is (in the virtual world.)
  3. Pick up your legs and jog on the ball of your foot (think jogging on your toes)
  4. Land softly and pretend you have sensitive, easily annoyed neighbors underneath you.
  5. Pump your arms as you jog. This will increase the calorie burn and gives a major immersion boost inside the game.

Advanced Steps:

  1. Do high knees while running uphill.
  2. Do butt kicks while running downhill.
  3. Set sneak to “manual” and physically squat while sneaking.

Game Movement:

So you’re probably wondering, that’s great and all, but how do you actually move in the game while jogging in place?

There are two movement modes in Skyrim VR: Teleportation and Free Motion. Teleportation doesn’t do much for us here. To change to Free Motion press the menu button on your Vive wand and go into “VR Settings.” Change from Teleportation to Free Motion and boom! You’re ready to run. Slide your thumb to the top of the thumb pad and keep it rested there while pumping your arms. Stay in the middle of the circle and periodically adjust your mat if it slides. 

Bonus: Open a window or put a fan on you for extra immersion. 

Natural Locomotion

Another option is a steam app called “Natural Locomotion” ($9.99.) If you don’t like keeping your thumb on the touchpad while you run you may prefer this instead.

Natural Locomotion mimics real life walking by moving you forward as you physically pump your arms. It’s an amazing app and my only criticism is to move at all you have to pump your arms. So if you’re sneaking or just want to move forward a couple steps you still have to move your arms. Free Motion in contrast gives you more control over quick movements since you don’t actually have to pump your arms for it to work. To use NL you’ll also have to hold down the grip buttons. Your shouts will be remapped to the right touch pad.

Weighted Vest

So now that we understand the basics of jogging in place what are some other ways to increase the calorie count?

One would be with a weighted vest. Here’s a couple options if you’re interested in exploring this:

It’s very important to get shoulder pads with any vest you buy. Grinding out 1-4 hours of jogging in place will definitely pound on your shoulders as you run and it becomes uncomfortable quickly without them. I do not recommend ankle weights or wrist weights as sudden shifts in movement could damage joints.

Immersion

The more beautiful the world the less you’re going to want to leave. The final step of transforming Skyrim VR into the ultimate low cardio workout is to make it beautiful.

The advantage jogging in Skyrim has over jogging in real life is being immersed in a gorgeous fantasy landscape where as you run you may have to fight for your life. Ideally, this doesn’t happen on your normal jog around the neighborhood but in Skyrim you hope for it. Nothing like being slightly out of breath when you’re attacked by a group of necromancers.

Luckily Skyrim VR is easy to mod and adding simple tweaks such as tree and road overhauls as well as the sounds of birds in the background can make a huge difference. If you’re interested in modding for the first time, we’ve made a beginner’s guide to modding skyrim. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Bonus: Brawler Build

If you want an intense workout while playing here’s an added bonus: Build a Brawler character. As a Brawler, you’ll refrain from using weapons and only punch with your fists. This is like Drunken Bar Fight on steroids. Here’s my build if you’d like to try this for yourself:

Race: Khajiit

Name: One Punch Cat (I hope you get the reference)

Brawler Mods:

  • Unarmed Perks and Leveling System: This will put an “Unarmed” skill tree within the “One Handed” skill tree to the left. This will enable punching to level up your one handed skill as well. Be warned, this mod is not well balanced and will give you an unfair advantage once you max out your character.
  • Immersive Patrols: Creates groups of Imperial and Stormcloak soldiers who patrol and fight between cities (more people to fight)
  • Man those borders: Puts manned/unmanned fortifications throughout Skyrim (more people to fight)
  • Warzones – Civil Unrest for SSE: This is probably my favorite NPC mod. It adds 1000s of Stormcloaks and Imperials fighting battles throughout Skyrim. It’s exhilarating joining in the fight with nothing but your hands.
  • Populated Cities and Towns: Adds hundreds of NPCs to cities to make the world more full. Nothing like throwing back too much meade and fighting 20 travelers with your fists at the inn.
  • No Stagger Mod: You’ll get staggered a lot living the life of a Brawler. In VR this gets very annoying.
  • Guards Attack Hostiles: For some reason in the vanilla version of Skyrim guards really don’t care to help you. As a Brawler you’ll want all the help you can get (especially if you play on Legendary.) This mod will make guards defend you when under attack.

If you do this right the Brawler can be an extremely overpowered build. If you’re trying to get an intense workout on top of jogging in place this is the way to go.

For a complete list of how to maximize your brawler character here is a helpful article and an awesome video.

 


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