How do I structure a VR Fitness routine? Do I just play a game, or is there more to it?
I asked these questions when I first began my journey into VR fitness, both as a writer and as someone who wanted to get fit. I enjoy hiking and backpacking, both of which require you to be fit. You need to carry weight, uphill, and have the endurance to make camp and meals along the way so you don’t die. That’s assuming you carry water with you and don’t need to find a water source or fish.
My point is that I needed a way to consistently get physical during times I can’t be on a mountain. With VR Fitness, I found high-impact cardio, and consistent exercise were easy to maintain. A few eating decisions and some lifestyle choices and I can safely say I’m in the best shape of my life.
Here’s how I got there.
HIIT and LISS
I don’t practice HIIT and LISS workouts the way a trainer might direct me to, so I can only offer some advice on ways to achieve the desired outcome. I think that for best results, players should seriously consider a gym membership alongside VR. I also think that elements of a HIIT or LIIS workout are easy to achieve in VR.
The key to a HIIT workout is short bursts. I find these in rhythm and boxing games. You want intense cardio that tests the body, but doesn’t require too much extended playtime.
Those longer experiences are more useful for a LIIS session, where the goal is extended exercise time. Players seeking a LIIS experience will want story-based games, like the Bethesda titles or even Wizards. Something that motivates you through progression, and a solid story or sense of exploration.
Working the Body
One of the great ironies to me about VR is that free locomotion doesn’t always translate to a full-body workout. If you’re looking to target specific muscle groups, this list might help.
BoxVR | Full Body, especially Legs and Arms
In BoxVR, you will need to punch and dodge incoming targets set to the beat. Choose from different difficulties, and pre-built challenges, or use your music library to create your own. It’s one of the best full-body workout applications in VR, and still one of our most recommended applications.
Beat Saber | Legs and Arms
In Beat Saber, players must strike incoming targets in a specific direction to keep their score high and move to the beat. Perhaps it’s because I can’t resist the urge to dance when I play it. I find myself shuffling my feet and dancing to the beat whenever I tackle a Beat Saber session. The music feels good and it feels like I can hit my targets easier when I stay mobile. I recommend players stay light on their feet with a quick skip or shuffle in place, strafing back and forth to
Skyrim | Arms and Shoulders
Skyrim is the quintessential adventure game, now brought to life in VR. One can get lost picking flowers and slaying bears and wolves, or hunt for dragons and draugr in the depths of the game’s many dungeons. You will traverse vast expanses for a light workout that emphasizes the arms and shoulders.
Swing melee weapons, fire bows, and sling magic spells as you fight to finish your quest and become the true Dragonborn.
Hot Squat | Core and Legs
Hot Squat doesn’t get a lot of updates, or mentions, but for those of you looking to start the New Year off right, you can’t ask for a better game. Hot Squat uses squats to maneuver through obstacles. Players must fit through incoming tunnels, each flying at a faster rate. Miss and you start all the way over. How far you can get depends on how long your legs hold out.
Trust us, you’ll have thighs of steel after this one.
Plan a Goal
Have a real life goal. For me, that goal is tackling any trail I find in front of me. I have some specific ones in mind near me, then I want to go nationwide and see what awaits.
You need an external motivator if you want to stay consistent. Games offer new experiences, but you’ll find focus much easier to attain when you have something in the real world motivating you. Maybe you want a summer body, or you want to shed pounds. Maybe you want to get moving and do some light exercising to work up to time at the gym. Whatever your reasoning, find it and hold it close.
VR is a means to an end, so proper motivation helps you remain on the path to a fitter you.