If the pandemic brought one good thing, it’s that home fitness is here to stay. As case numbers rose, working from home quickly turned into working out from home. Suddenly, lifting weights in the basement didn’t sound like so much fun.
So the fitness and tech industries created a virtually endless library of workout videos, fitness courses, and health resources. Now, anyone with a little extra cheddar can tap into this online cache by strapping on a virtual reality headset.
More affordable hardware and functional features have made VR a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts and gamers alike. Since 2019, more than 16 million headsets were sold worldwide, and experts think that number will more than double by 2024. So, if you’re looking to purchase one, now might be a good time to do so.
Let’s Talk Calories
Virtual reality as a medium has always encouraged players to stand up and get moving. However, today’s games are specifically built with fitness in mind. Thus, you could burn just as many calories staying home as you would going to the gym — if not more.
Built-in calorie counters, various game modes, and interactive features further encourage high activity levels. Choose games like “Beat Saber” and “Pistol Whip” to torch 6.55 and 7.17 calories per minute, respectively.
Your Options Are Endless
Next-gen commercial VR headsets have been around for about a decade, which means developers have had plenty of time to create new games and experiences. For example, brands like The North Face have made virtual reality videos featuring classic outdoor activities like rock climbing, which could offer a unique take on virtual workouts.
With everything from yoga to boxing to choose from, it seems your options are practically endless. Regardless of which experience you choose, it’s bound to get you up and moving, especially if you’re the competitive type.
Virtual Reality Is an Investment
Tech-based fitness is engaging and effective, but there’s a reason why some people still don’t use it, no matter how interested they may be in the VR world. VR headsets alone can cost a few hundred dollars and full systems can easily cost more than $1,000. Then, you must purchase standalone games or monthly subscriptions to access them.
While the initial cost may sound steep, many studio fitness memberships are much more expensive. Therefore, it’s important to compare costs before choosing one over the other.
Gamification Fuels Habituation
Gamifying fitness has encouraged more people to commit to a regular fitness routine and get back in shape. This habituation can aid in weight loss, muscle gain, and a healthier outlook overall. However, it can also fuel addiction if you aren’t careful. Just like video games, VR can cause some people to obsess over scores and numbers.
When this obsession becomes an addiction, you’re more likely to develop exercise addiction, eating disorders, and injuries from overuse. Taking time to rest will help you make VR gaming a healthy habit without it developing into an addiction.
The Future of Fitness
Fitness and tech will continue to entwine with one another in the coming years. It’s likely that virtual reality will continue to complement augmented reality, too. The latter system supports lightweight sunglasses-like headsets, new and improved controllers, and mixed-reality environments to provide a more immersive experience.
Connection speeds will also make a huge impact on AR’s long-term growth. Current home Wi-Fi speeds can support VR and AR. However, 5G speeds will be integral to widespread adoption because they elevate the entire experience and can even support AR use beyond the limits of Wi-Fi.Guest Post
About the Guest Author(s)
April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine with a love of all things VR and tech. At home you can find her jamming to Beat Saber on her HTC Vive.