Virtual reality therapy helped me exercise during the Corona virus

4 min read
03 May

Although it may seem far-fetched, IDTechEx estimates that the virtual reality market will be worth $30 billion by 2030. And, with the release of the Oculus Quest 2 ($299) in October 2020, you'll be able to do so right from your living room.

It comes with a headset and two controllers, as well as a variety of apps that make working out fun. Beat Saber is a rhythm-based dance cardio workout; Creed: Rise To Glory lets you box with none other than Michael B. Jordan; and Supernatural offers trainer-led HIIT, strength-training, and meditation routines set in stunning locations around the world. There's a modality for every type of fitness fanatic—all you have to do put on the headset (which takes up no floor space) and you'll transported to another world.

“With the Quest 2, we could bring together a cordless experience and higher-resolution graphics at a $299 price point for the first time,” says Meaghan Fitzgerald, Oculus' director of product marketing for experiences. “Virtual reality became much more accessible to distinct groups of people—not just a core audience of gamer—suddenly. More women were coming into VR, and experiences other than gaming, such as gamified fitness and working out in the headset, were becoming more popular.”

for Oculus Quest 2. Fitness in virtual reality
Oculus Quest 2 is available now for $299, from us

for Oculus Quest 2. Fitness in virtual reality
Oculus Quest 2 is available now for $299, from us

Because I live in a studio apartment, I usually do my at-home workouts on the sliver of open floor that exists between my bed and my coffee table. Something seriously burned me out and unmotivated after a year of doing push-ups three feet from my bed while watching a trainer coach me on my iPhone screen. But, thanks to the Oculus Rift, I can pretend to be somewhere else for at least 20 minutes a day.

You Won't Even Know You're Working Out While Playing These Fitness Video Games You Won't Even Notice That This Fitness Video Games Are So Much Fun... Pro Athletes Use the WAFF To Improve Strength and Posture Pro Athletes Use the WAFF To Improve Strength and Posture “[Virtual reality] gives you the true ability completely immerse yourself, not only in the movement you're doing and the music you're listening to, but really transport into a different place and environment, head of fitness at Supernatural (my favorite VR fitness experience). When everyone has been in their home for a year, being able to put on a magical headset and whisked away to the pyramids of Giza or the Cayman Islands and do your workout there rather than in your apartment is a huge gift.”

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In the last few months, my headset has allowed me to box in front of a crowd, dance my heart out in a club, and meditate at Machu Picchu—all without ever leaving my living room—activities that COVID-19 has made impossible to experience in real life.

While various forms of "fitness travel," have taken over our digital workouts, the Quest 2 virtual reality experience takes things to a whole new level. “There are other platforms that have you watching a video of nature while still sitting on a stationary bike inside a gym or at home, but there's a disconnect because you're not actually in nature,” Pedante says. “It's so realistic with Supernatural because you get 360 degrees of virtual reality and your apartment vanishes—there are birds flying above you, water rippling below you, and you can hear the wind in the palm trees.”

for Oculus Quest 2. Fitness in virtual reality
Oculus Quest 2 is available now for $299, from us

for Oculus Quest 2. Fitness in virtual reality
Oculus Quest 2 is available now for $299, from us

Supernatural's creators inspired by activities like skiing, snowboarding, and surfing, “where you're doing this very rigorous thing with your body, but you're not thinking about the fact that you're exercising because you're having this other experience,” says Pedante. And that's exactly what my Quest 2's VR workouts have allowed me to do.

Aside from the fact that it's really cool, there are some legitimate advantages to sweating it out in a virtual world. “People are more motivated to exercise from a mental standpoint because it gives them something new to look at,” sports psychologist Janine Delaney, PhD, previously told Well + Good. “It allows them to imagine what might be possible once all of this is over and travel becomes available, and I believe people are very open to these types of experiences because any time you can do something different with your workouts is a good thing,” she says. On days when working out is the last thing on my mind, I reach for my Oculus, because burpees don't seem so bad when you're doing them on an Icelandic glacier.

VR workouts also provide the type of community that people have been missing out on because they can no longer go to their usual studios or gyms. “One of the most exciting aspects of virtual reality is that you have a sense of presence with the other people who are virtually in the same space with you—you feel you're right there with them,” Fitzgerald says. “We would never say that virtual reality will replace social interactions because they are so unique, but it expands your range of fitness and social gaming options when you can't or don't want to be with people who are far away while you work out.”

VR workouts have helped me look forward to my living room fitness routine when actual reality has been less-than-stellar—and that's exactly the healthy escapism we all need right now.

for Oculus Quest 2. Fitness in virtual reality
Oculus Quest 2 is available now for $299, from us

for Oculus Quest 2. Fitness in virtual reality
Oculus Quest 2 is available now for $299, from us

Tnx Zoe Weiner on the article

Virtual Reality, Augmented and Artificial Intelligence 2021 specialist Amit Caesar wrote the article.

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