Sitting in room corners or garages across the globe are ellipticals, treadmills, and weight machines collecting dust. If this is something you vibe with, you’re not alone. I ignored my exercise bike too, but VR helped me get back on track with my fitness and health goals.

Quick Story About That Dusty Bike

This bike eventually became a place I’d put random stuff on and was such an annoyance I’d stub my toe on and wouldn’t use it. The reasons I told myself why I didn’t want to use the bike were in fact, excuses.

I’d tell myself it was annoying to use in a small apartment. That it wasn’t giving me the results I wanted physically. Or it was painful for my back and neck from slouching, which was true, but also that it was boring to do the same thing day in and day out.

Shortly after naming it a torture device, I gave away my bike and went back to my dear routine of clicking through Reddit. Thank my lucky stars for Reddit, because it helped me stumble on to r/vrfit, the place where my introduction to VR began.

Discovering VR as Exercise Equipment

Credit to: VR Fitness Insider

Not long thereafter, I stumbled on VR Fitness Insider’s site where people were playing video games that made them move around and were having a heck of a time doing it. The most alluring part of finding the site was that I discovered many of the people who shared their weight loss or health improvement journeys said their progress came from VR gaming feeling like actual play and not exercise.

Many adults aren’t used to the concept of play since well, becoming an adult. We’re conditioned to believe that playtime is for kids only, which keeps us from working out in alternative ways like joining an actual flag football team, an extreme frisbee group, and playing video games in VR!

Exercising outdoors or punching and kicking in a kickboxing gym requires us to focus on how intensely our bodies are feeling at the moment. And so many of us, myself included, really despise that level of body awareness because it means pain is also waiting to squirm its way in.

Working out can also feel tedious and boring after a while when you don’t see immediate results from all that effort. VR is mentally rewarding like video games and has helped me achieve health and fitness results like a clearer mind and more energetic body that doesn’t get exhausted by noon.

“The Best Exercise Equipment I’ve Ever Owned”

Credit to: Aaron Stanton via Voices of VR

Aaron Stanton, the executive producer of QuiVR and the director of the VR Insititute for Health & Exercise, was recently on Kent Bye’s Voices of VR podcast episode #702.

Stanton says:

“Back a while ago I was playing Audioshield and I had played more than 100 some odd hours — about 120 hours. And I remember thinking to myself, you know if this is actually exercise my VR unit is by far the best exercise equipment I’ve ever owned”.

Since his first consideration that VR might be exercise, Aaron Stanton and his team have gone on to prove, with data, that VR is in fact exercise. VR games like Audioshield, Beat Saber, and BOX VR is as physically intensive as playing matches of Tennis!

Fit gamers play VR games that they enjoy, progress in, and are challenged and rewarded by playing. I choose games that speak to me like BOXVR, Beat Saber, and recently Dance Collider, which are mostly rhythm based. 

The reason why I love these types of games is that punching another person in the ring, hitting or kicking the heavy bag, or using a saber is something I’m not able to do in real life.

This is because I have back and neck pain from past injuries. So, using my VR headset and controllers to simulate these moves without picking up a sword or bruising my arms and legs is mega motivating to me. VR removes our limitations.

With facts surfacing that VR games and music help the brain and body push through fatigue and dissipates most of the pain during exercise, it’d be dismissive to ignore VR’s fitness abilities. The creative ways developers and publishers use music along with movement in VR is what keeps me anticipating and wanting more — because in VR I can do it!

Wrap Up

Music based fitness games alone are worth what I’ve spent on VR as a fitness machine. Maybe your favorite workout will be a multiplayer or single player FPS, boxing, or archery game. For as many games there are in the VR universe, there will be reasons for why VR is so great for health and fitness. Unlike that bike ride to nowhere or that kickboxing phase, VR is the best exercise equipment I’ve ever owned.


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