How has VR Changed the Fitness Industry?

Everyone knows exercise and fitness is important. But, unless you can find a way to stay motivated, it’s often hard to stick with a workout routine. Going to the gym each day to run on a treadmill isn’t exactly exciting for everyone trying to get in shape.

Thankfully, VR has made a major change in the fitness industry. While the concept is nothing new, technological advancements have really made a difference in how people work out – even from home.

VR - Fitness Industry

There’s no question that VR is evolving with rapidly-changing technology. But, how is it changing the fitness industry today? How is it used for home workouts, and what can we expect from it in the future?

The Rise of VR in Fitness

Again, the concept of VR isn’t new, but it just recently started taking the fitness world by storm. It really started to grow in 2018 with the launch of Sony’s PlayStation VR and the 2019 launch of the Oculus Quest. While neither one of these items was solely used for fitness purposes, they included games and applications to get people moving, including popular sports.

VR has come a long way in the fitness industry in just a few short years. In 2020, the world’s first fitness membership for virtual reality launched. It combined daily one-on-one workouts with a virtual coach, and a fully immersive experience designed to work with the Oculus Quest and a smartphone app.

The timing was perfect for this type of at-home VR experience since most people weren’t able to go to their local gym during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as VR fitness has expanded, games for people with different health goals and strengths have started to come out. VR doesn’t stand for “very ripped,” but if that’s your goal, you can accomplish it at home. Some of the most high-intensity games include:

  • Audio Trip – A cardio-focused dance workout
  • Beat Saber – A whole-body workout focusing on rhythm and arm movement
  • Bitslap – If you love boxing, this cube-slapping game will give you a great workout
  • BoxVR – Another boxing game with a more realistic feel

Whether you want something with low intensity like stretching or yoga or you need a killer workout every day, the technological advancements of VR can help you.

Using VR to Workout

So, how exactly can you work out at home using VR? First, decide what you really need. If you’re a beginner, purchasing a game or an app to connect to your VR headset might be the way to go. Choosing a sports game can help you to boost your confidence, challenge your mind and body, and offer you the experience of “highs and lows” as you play. Plus, if you’re a sports enthusiast, feeling like you’re practicing at home like a pro is enough to make you stick with it.

If you want to be held accountable for your fitness routine, sign up for a program like Supernatural – the fitness membership we talked about earlier. Not only can you exercise in some of the world’s most famous locations, but you’ll have the benefit of a virtual trainer to keep you motivated.

Perhaps the best part about working out at home is that you can do it almost anywhere, on your own time. Your home workout space should be free of clutter and distractions. You don’t necessarily need to purchase any special gym equipment, but it’s a good idea to have a few basics, including:

  • Dumbells
  • FID Bench
  • Workout mat
  • Pull up bar

You’ll also need any extra equipment your VR game or app requires to get the best possible workout. For the most part, though, all you need to work out at home using VR is a little bit of space.

The best part? That’s just one of the benefits.

What are the Benefits of Exercising with VR at Home?

Not fully convinced that you can exercise from anywhere with VR? Think about your current fitness habits. Do you want to work out more but can’t find the motivation? VR is great for breaking up the monotony of traditional workouts. It does so with things like gamification, or “rewarding” you for a job well done. Gamification has been a popular edtech trend used to keep students engaged for years. Educators are now combining it with VR to take gamification to the next level and the sports and fitness industries are following suit to keep you motivated during workouts. The combination of VR and gamification in at-home fitness is only natural.

Working out at home with VR will also take you to new worlds. Instead of seeing the walls of a gym, you can feel like you’re working out along the Great Wall of China. We’re willing to bet that’s a little more motivating than your living room.

VR is meant to enhance the user experience in almost every application, including fitness. Even the avatar(s) you use on screen can help to boost your self-confidence and make you feel less intimidated by working out.

As VR continues to grow within the fitness industry, you can expect more apps, games, and advancements to come out in the next few years. It’s already changed the way people work out at home. Now that there is a greater demand since people have gotten used to spending more time exercising in their living rooms, expect the VR fitness experience to come forward with even bigger benefits in the future.

Watch this space for updates in the Opinion category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Staff Writer

Running Wolf's Rant's correspondent who chooses to remain anonymous...

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