The foundation of a good workout has three phases: light, medium and heavy. You do this to target all of the major muscle groups without over exerting yourself. VR uses progressive difficulty to control how strenuous the workout becomes. Add accessories like a weighted vest, and do plenty of squats, and you can improve the workout potential even more. On a heavy day, you can go hard on games that push your fitness, while enjoying more relaxed and fun experiences on lighter days.
Here are a few titles to help you get started.
Light exercises are considered “casual” in some circles. They make you move and exert some force, but they don’t demand you sweat. View these as your “for fun” days. These are also good warmup games to play before you hit your heavier routines. They will take advantage of full range of motion, so make sure you stretch even if these games don’t appear very intimidating.
They can only move when you do. Have you ever watched that Matrix lobby scene and thought “why not me?” Superhot is the game for you, and it’s the equivalent of a brisk walk. What cool moves will you pull off? A personal favorite of mine is the slice and grab: disarming an opponent with a sword or blunt object, then stealing his gun for a quick shot at someone else.
And if you don’t think it’s enough of a workout, you can always try speedrunning the game.
Think of this as Holopoint light. It’s going to use a lot of natural resistance with your arms at the ready to fire your arrows, but it’s just not physically intensive and overwhelming the way Holopoint can feel.
Google’s VR painting application is a great pick for a light exercise day. You can save your projects and come back to them, so you can get as ambitious as you want, learning as you play. I love the concept behind Tilt Brush, and the creative minded will find hours of engagement within it.
Medium exercises are still fun and entertaining, but you may find yourself getting worn out when you first begin your routines with them. In that sense, it can be frustrating to feel your limits with the urge to play still strong. Don’t worry, stick with these routines and medium activity games will soon feel like a breeze if they don’t already.
You’ve played by now on so many platforms, but VR is where it really shines (unless you played the Kinect version, which takes advantage of many of the same mechanics as this one). VR is perfectly suited to Fruit Ninja, a game that definitely will not feel like a workout until you’re done playing it.
One of my favorite tropes in game design is the simple and fun style game, which is squarely where Goalkeeper VR lands. Try the “Smaller Hands” game variant for a unique challenge. You won’t be moving all over the room, but you will get some great cardio out of this one.
As a newly created AI, you are trapped in some kind of Arcade that requires you completing several rounds of play to free yourself. The story element is nice, but the variety is what really shines. Each of the three mini games has a progressive difficulty as well, so you’re always feeling like you’re improving.
Hot Squat is pure awesome, like stunt squatting if there is such a thing. The premise is very basic, but the workout is cool and you can find fun ways to make the experience better (like dancing while you squat).
Designed to push you, heavy workouts will make you sweat. As you progress, these workouts will get easier, so be prepared to push yourself harder with higher difficulties and self-made challenges.
Fastest Fist is a favorite around here at VRFI. The Bruce Lee styled-trainer is a nice throwback to the martial arts films Fastest Fist wants to train you to be in. Mostly a boxing sim, your upper body and shoulders will get a good workout here.
Another boxing sim that incorporates some ducking and moving action. You’ll feel more like you’re in the ring, but it’s not as technical as Thrill of the Fight.
Thrill of the Fight is one of, if not the, best boxing sims available in VR. Opponents are tough, physically, and require multiple blows to take down. You might even learn something about technique in the sweet sport.
Try and advance past level ten. It will quickly become apparent that Holopoint isn’t just an archery game, it’s a gamified workout. Waves of samurai and ninja attack from all directions, with some target practice to keep things light. This one is a fun group game with friends. Who can reach the highest level?
There are different schools of thought on how to approach the Light, Medium and Heavy regiments. You could do all of these in a single setting, but VR already gives you a full-body workout.
Our advice is to dive in and have fun. We chose titles that are both fun and physically intensive. What does your workout look like?