Using a stationary bike can be boring the traditional way, and it can also make your legs burn like nothing else. We already knew that VR could help make it more interesting, but a new study discovered it can also reduce your leg pain during the workout.

More interesting means less painful

Researchers at the University of Georgia had nearly 100 healthy adults complete three 30-second sprints on a stationary bike. Half of this group viewed a dynamic city-scape while the other half viewed a static image. The former group was found to experience about 12 percent less pain in their quadriceps than the latter. Despite this, performance across both groups was identical, so they were working just as intensely.

“This is one of the first studies to demonstrate the ability of VR to reduce pain while engaging in highly intensive exercising that is known to induce significant pain,” said study co-author Sun Joo Ahn in the announcement.

This should not come as a huge shock for those who have ever gotten a shot as a child. The nurse or doctor usually attempts to distract you. This makes it less painful than if your attention was only on the needle. With something interesting to view and work toward in VR, you are thinking less about how hard you are peddling. Before VR, television or an iPod would have to do the job.


“With continued exploration, this combination may increase adherence to and effectiveness of physical activity for healthy individuals, as well as for those with various hindrances to physical activity,” added doctoral student Carly Wender.

VR and physical activity continue to be more and more inseparable. From professional athletes training in VR to physical therapists utilizing it for healing, the headsets have an unquestionable place in the future of health. We can’t wait to see just what that will look like.