You have to go to the gym to get in shape. There’s really not much more you can do to burn off the flab other than grind out sets, eat right and stay committed for months. But what if there was a way to do it in a fully immersive experience that also lets you have fun while you get in shape? There is! Advancements in augmented reality and virtual reality world can now make you fitter than ever. And you’ll agree, it is a fun way to get back in shape.

Unfortunately, VR applications for fitness freaks are just in their infancy stage. Which means, a lot of hardware is still in prototype stage, where developers are testing the possibilities and their shortcomings. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t already a lot of great options out there! Here’s a sampler of what you need to try today!

Oculus Rift

This VR headset has an OLED display (2160 x 1200 resolution) with a field of view spanning 110 degrees. The tracking area is 5×11 feet which are enough for fitness apps. The headset works with a PC running Windows 7 and having Intel i5-4590 processor with 8GB RAM (or higher).

Oculus Rift is one VR headset that is the most used for currently developed VR apps and standalone hardware which work with VR headsets. VR fitness equipment like VirZoom, Runtastic, Widerun and Icaros work perfectly well with Oculus Rift.

For example, in VirZoom the pedaling input provides speed in the game, while a button on the handlebar actuates the left–right movement or up-down motion. Buttons act like the gaming controller; the faster you pedal the faster is the in-game movement of the character.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR is another VR headset which gives you ample fitness opportunities. The headset has a Super AMOLED display (2560 x 1440 resolution) and requires compatible smartphone like Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+. It has a 96-degree field of view and good refresh rate. Right now if you want to experience fitness in virtual reality, then you can use it with next generation fitness VR equipment like HYVE’s Icaros fit for a complete body workout as it provides neck, triceps, shoulder, chest, abs, calves and quad muscle training all in one go. However, that comes with a steep price tag of USD $8,200 and you can pre-order it right away.

HTC Vive

HTC Vive VR headset has a dual display having 1080 x 1200 with aspect ratio 9:5 for each one. It would be safe to say that Vive has the best display among all VR headsets. There is a front camera on the headset to fuse real with the virtual reality environment for augmented reality applications. The headset is connected to an Intel i5 Windows 7 PC which needs to be having at-least 4GB RAM. You also need to have a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater GPU.

You can pair the HTC Vive headset with fitness gear like WideRun. Just like VirZoom, Widerun is also an exercise bike which pairs with HTC Vive VR headset for an immersive workout experience. What makes it different from the VirZoom platform is its ability to turn your bike into a VR fitness equipment.

VR Box 2.0

Consider this the cost-effective entry level model that isn’t quite as great as the others on this list, but still worth trying (and most people find it to be a significant step up from the Google Cardboard). Like Samsung Gear VR, VR Box needs you to slide-in your smartphone (4.7-inch to 6.0-inch) into the headset for immersive VR application. Although it doesn’t have the top notch hardware, the headset has enough to get you on your heels for fitness. You can use it to play games like Winter Cycling Fitness, VR Marathon Race, VR Horse Race Fitness or VR Highway Bicycle to get into shape in a VR environment. Because it isn’t as immersive as other hmds and your eyes are a bit further away from the gameplay, you actually do get slightly better resolution. It also comes with a decent little remote. Did we mention it was cheap? How does under $30 sound? It’s worth a try on price alone.

Zeiss VR One

Another headset that makes use of your smartphone to create a VR environment for fitness. You can use it with VR Fitness apps that motivates you to pedal on a tropical island with sights and sounds which traverse you into another world. All you need to do is to install a cadence sensor on your home ergo-meter that transmits the cycle’s speed via Bluetooth to your smartphone for syncing the speed in the virtual world.

The Future of VR Fitness?

Oculus, HTC and Samsung headsets are fast becoming the first choice of fitness VR equipment developers. It would be safe to say that you can go for either of these VR headsets in case you want to get your hands on premium VR applications.

VR headsets alone cannot provide the user with a quality fitness regime. An additional hardware or rig is required to complete the jigsaw puzzle. After all, fitness is much more than playing and achieving a couple of goals in the virtual world. Unfortunately, nobody has been able to truly develop anything in this manner as of this story’s publication, but we know it’s coming!

-Steven Runnels

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!


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