Benefits of VR for Fitness
Physical activity can be an enjoyable experience that enhances one’s life and many people are discovering how to integrate increased activity through VR gaming. Since regular exercise has benefits for physical, mental and emotional health, there are many reasons to put on those headsets and have fun on your wellness journey!
Why Use VR for Fitness?
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults need to move more and sit less. Most of us already know this, but finding the motivation to do so is a different story and many people who would never commit to other types of exercise will put on a headset for a 30-minute gaming experience that reaps similar results to traditional fitness programs.
For substantial health benefits, adults should engage in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity activity. Preferably this would be spread throughout the week and it should be aerobic, which means your increased heart rate is pumping greater amounts of oxygen to your muscles.
Many VR games provide an equivalent amount of exercise to traditional forms of exercise such as playing tennis or using an elliptical. Even if a person doesn’t have access to necessary equipment or locations where they can participate in physical activities, VR provides them with opportunity to engage in immersive fitness experiences in the comfort of their own homes. This enables them to exercise with only a VR headset and a small amount of space.
Benefits to VR Fitness
Habitual physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits. Among other things, a regular fitness routine:
- Decreases risk of high blood pressure
- Decreases risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Promotes increased circulation
- Helps reduce and manage stress & anxiety
- Improves sleep quality
- Improves bone health
- Keeps joints flexible, increasing range of motion
- Encourages retention of muscle mass
- Improves balance and coordination, reducing risk of fall-related injuries
Regular exercise can reduce your risk of declining health by reducing risk factors such as excess body weight and poor circulation. An exercise regimen can help prevent injury by keeping your joints flexible, increasing range of motion, and encouraging retention of muscle mass.
Studies have shown that regular exercise reduces fall-related injuries in older adults. There are most likely several reasons for this, but among other things, exercise encourages balance and coordination.
A fitness routine also improves overall wellbeing by increasing self-esteem and cognitive functioning and some VR games are designed specifically with challenges, motivation and positive feedback. Supernatural is a great example of this with daily workouts, inspirational content, connections with other community members, etc.
VR games combine physicality and technology in such a way that users are engaged with the immersive environment and inclined to play longer, push themselves harder, and develop a regular routine.
No More Excuses
If you want to improve your overall wellness, VR is a great way to infuse more physical activity into your daily routine with minimal adjustment to your lifestyle. Your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing is important so set aside 20-30 minutes a few times each week, find a game you enjoy, and start seeing the benefits of fitness with VR!
Editor's Note: Article originally published in VR Fitness Insider.