Virtual Reality + Fitness

In recent years, virtual reality has teased its national debut by giving viewers a glimpse into the state of the art technology being developed for headset devices. As hordes of fans anxiously wait for the chance to dabble in the world of VR gaming, many developers are already looking into other platforms in which their headsets could be used. One area in particular – Fitness.

It’s no surprise the United States has a weight problem. With more than one-third of adults having obesity, getting Americans to be more active has become a national priority. A simple search through the app store and one will find hundreds of apps designed to make losing weight fun. While most apps fall incredibly short when it comes to their claims, Pokémon Go was the first game that had people thoroughly excited to get out and explore their surroundings. But as the weeks wore on, even Pokémon Go saw a large drop in their user base.

Several game developers believe that virtual reality holds the key to making losing weight fun. By using games people already know and love, players will be more inclined to get off the couch and exercise. The hardest problem is making a game that tricks the player’s mind into believing they are not actually working out. If they are truly immersed in virtual reality, then they won’t realize the calories they are burning by fending off a village of flesh-eating zombies, dancing through their favorite songs, or slicing through a vast array of fruits. While wearing a VR headset, the player will have a much harder time getting distracted by their surroundings, making an hour of exercise seem like a few minutes.

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Recently, Tim Donahey, a certified personal trainer and avid gamer, began looking for ways to exercise that didn’t demand him leaving his newborn son. Knowing the vast capabilities of virtual reality, Donahey decided to strap on his headset and a heart monitor to see how many calories he could burn in a single hour.

Within the sixty-minute time limit, Donahey was able to play four VR games like Audioshield, Thrill of the Fight, Holopoint, and Holoball. After the last game, Donahey was shocked how exhausted his body felt when he took off the headset. As for the toll the games had on his body, Donahey ended up burning over 800 calories in a single hour.

Thrilled by the results, the new father decided to do a fifty-day study to see just how much weight he could lose while playing some of his favorite games. Setting a goal to lose at least 12 pounds during the experiment, Donahey tracked his weight and saw he lost an average of two pounds a week and burned 700 calories per a gaming session, surpassing his original expectations.

While virtual reality fitness might not replace the traditional gym, it appears that VR could be the answer for people who find going to the gym to be daunting, time-consuming, or just not fun.

Do you think a VR Gym is a good idea? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below.

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