Virtual Reality Converges With Fitness

A scenario I explored when looking into the Future of Sports was improving our fitness in virtual ways. As our bodies are immersed into games or eSports, athleticism matters. Where the view of gaming in the past was a teenager or young adult wasting away in front of a screen, virtual reality is turning that view on its head. In this recent Article, author Clint Carter describes the serious workouts he enjoyed virtually. In essence, your body is the games controller, and your fitness level plays a major role in how you do. Here is a description of one of those games from the article:

Workouts typically run 10- to 30-minutes, and they roll out fresh daily. After a quick stretch with a trainer, music kicks on and triangles and targets begin flying toward you. Your job is to squat through the former and smash the latter with the virtual batons in your hands.

Clint Carter

The game makes exercise fun, and in a sedentary world, that holds the promise of improving the health and fitness of society. What if your exercise allows you to explore the world and learn some history? What if this were applied to other aspects of learning, stimulating us all to be the life-long learners that the future seems to want from us? The gamified nature of the experience provides incentive and engages us in ways that are rewarding. Studies are showing the results. Per the article:

“Last year, kinesiologists at the University of Minnesota reviewed 15 studies on the subject. Among those that looked at physical outcomes such as body composition, fitness level, and muscular strength, two-thirds showed positive results from VR workouts. And that’s despite relatively short study periods and outdated technology. (The oldest study in the analysis is from 2003, which is ancient in tech years.)”

VR Fitness Is a Serious Workout, Seriously

The benefits extend to our mental health. Mr. Carter indicates that studies looked at VR’s psychological effects. According to the research, virtual workouts can reduce fatigue and symptoms of depression, and in these times of isolation, that is a considerable benefit. My recent post on robot companions and loneliness (Please take the Poll) touched upon the role of emerging technology in addressing mental health issues. Technology has evolved both in terms of capability and price. This rapid advancement is one of many reasons that some see the 2020s as the most transformative decade in human history. The referenced article has a lot of good insights into virtual fitness – take a look.

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