The Virtual Reality Workout
June 21, 2021
The pandemic changed daily habits, and, for some, it also decreased workouts or made them a bit less exciting. Gyms were closed, and, let’s be honest, most people during the height of the pandemic might not have been venturing outside to mingle. While walks and runs were still an option, not everyone had the space to social distance on the pavement.
The world may be getting closer to the old normal, but workout options have broadened. During quarantine, some might have discovered virtual workouts. For those who own a virtual reality headset, virtual workouts could have brought joy back into fitness.
Not familiar with virtual reality workouts? Here’s everything you need to know to go virtual with fitness.
Do You Need a Headset?
To enter the virtual realm, users do need a headset. Virtual reality fitness apps might require this, especially if users are downloading apps from Steam. During the pandemic, the term ‘virtual’ was conflated to mean anything that wasn’t in-person. School was virtual. Work was virtual. Conferences? Yes…virtual.
Platforms like Zoom aren’t virtual reality. They are simply video applications. The meeting or school session is ‘virtual’ because it isn’t in-person.
Virtual reality is a different kind of virtual. Accessing virtual reality platforms typically—although not always—requires a headset. Using the headset, individuals enter virtual realms. This can be a fantasy realm or a replica of a gym, studio or some other destination. Virtual reality can really take users anywhere.
Users can have a virtual workout or fitness routine with or without a headset. Both options will be highlighted, as not all consumers have access to a headset.
Fitness in Virtual Reality: You Need the Headset
Steam offers many fitness apps that users can access via a headset. Want to feel the burn in virtual reality? Try out these apps for a fun, virtual and heart-pumping workout:
Described as “a home cardio and bodyweight workout app/game,” Boot Camp Fitness offers a built-in playlist of more than 150 songs to keep users moving. The game offers 13 ranks and 18 different locations users can unlock. Select the length of the workout and fitness level (beginner, normal or advanced). The app offers workout tips, too!
The app includes football, cycling, running and other games. A yoga option is ‘coming soon.’
Stick with standard fitness options or opt for a game to make the competition a bit more fun. Earn points for exercises, too! Do squats, jumping jacks and more! This game keeps fitness fun and provides a unique immersive environment to pull users from their home-bound rut.
This is a game that combines fitness with action. User’s participation will burn calories. Go after the enemies and then discover how many calories were burned during the mission.
Namaste! Practice yoga virtually. Features tranquil scenery to add to the ambiance. Users can choose their appropriate level, and, yes, beginners can use the app, too (just choose ‘beginner!’).
All the above apps require a headset to enter the virtual lesson. Some may require other equipment, too, like a stationary bike. Users can explore the different apps and choose the one they like best…or the app that fits their needs.
Virtual Fitness Without the Headset
Virtual workouts don’t always require a headset. Working out from home with the aid of a video or conferencing app also could be considered ‘virtual.’ The internet offers many virtual workout options, and many can be found on YouTube.
Check out these workout videos to get moving at home:
New to yoga? Beginners can start a routine by learning the easiest positions. This video shows 10 yoga poses for beginners and may be a nice introduction to the practice. The video is less than five minutes long, so this is very much just an introduction to a few poses.
Looking for an actual yoga workout as a beginner? Try this video from Yoga with Adriene. Not only does the video provide a good introduction to the practice, but it also provides a full yoga workout.
All you need for this brief workout is a hula hoop. And, yes, that hoop will get your body moving and your blood pumping. The video progresses in difficulty, so prepare for some challenges.
Dance off the Calories
PopSugar posted a 30-minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout. Have fun, move the body and get dancing for fitness!
Jumping rope is actually great cardio. This video is for those new to jumping, and it’s not long. Although 10 minutes of jumping rope can get the heart pumping. Grab a jump rope and embrace this fitness routine.
Augmented Reality Workouts
Virtual reality workouts may require the need for a headset while virtual at-home workouts are typically just a workout done at home via a video or other platform (no headset required). However, there are also augmented reality apps for fitness.
The difference between augmented reality and virtual reality is that augmented reality features the real environment with graphic overlays while virtual reality is viewed in a separate virtual environment. Both of these technologies are part of extended reality (XR).
Some apps let users race against augmented reality zombies or an augmented reality competitor. Want to get fit in augmented reality? Try these options:
The app is a game combined with a fitness program. Users are running, jogging or walking away from zombies, which are shown via a device in augmented reality. There could be zombies behind the runner. So look out! During the game, users have to complete tasks (like getting supplies) while outrunning the zombies.
This isn’t an app but a headset that lets runners train against an augmented reality competitor. They also can race against friends. The headset also features Strava.
For less than $1, users can download the app and race against friends. The app takes users through various checkpoints. Try to beat the previous time!
Why Use Technology for Workouts?
Covid restrictions are easing around the country and the globe. More people may be heading back to the gym and back outside for sports and other fitness routines. Yet, technology may still be a perfect fit for fitness enthusiasts.
Not everyday is ideal for outdoor activities, and virtual and augmented reality fitness options provide indoor fitness routines that won’t get rained out. Those who are still working from home or whose employers have permanently pivoted to virtual offices might use these virtual platforms for a fitness break during the day.
Virtual reality also breaks up the monotony of workouts. Fitness enthusiasts may enjoy a virtual day of workouts, as apps and games can offer something unique to the fitness journey. And those who are new to running might enjoy an augmented reality platform that transforms their surroundings into a game…or a zombie apocalypse!
Download the Data Before the Workout
Before starting a workout, users should check with their doctor first. And before downloading that app, research what it offers. Not every workout is ideal for every individual, and some apps may provide advisories or warnings related to who should use the app.
And while some apps are free, others are not. Ghost Pacer, for example, isn’t an app but a headset. So, in some cases, there is an investment cost.
Going virtual via videos, though, might be a budget-friendly way to find a fun but free workout. Beyond yoga, hula hooping, dance and jumping rope, there are so many workout options on YouTube. Find belly dancing tutorials, running in place videos, weight training videos, ab workout videos and more. Yes, there are even surfing lessons on YouTube!
Beginners and the Virtual Workout
While apps via Steam require a headset, virtual video workouts require nothing but an internet connection. Thanks to the internet anyone can workout virtually. Some studios or gyms may even offer virtual classes or fitness training.
Videos and virtual tutorials are a great way to learn a new exercise without any awkwardness. Even one-on-one virtual classes can help a beginner grow confident with a new routine. While the gym or studio can be intimidating to those new to a practice, a home-based introduction can ease the beginner into the routine and help them become comfortable.
Is Virtual Fitness the Future?
While working out via video, augmented reality or via virtual reality is unique and convenient, is it the future of fitness? As Covid restrictions have eased, many people may be craving their old routine. This might mean heading back to the gym or pounding the pavement with friends.
Virtual and augmented reality fitness apps and programs, though, may have a place for those who are new to a practice and want to grow confident without a crowd. And virtual videos and apps also may be a great option when the weather isn’t quite so great or when an individual just doesn’t have time for the gym.
While many may crave the social interactions of the gym or just the experience of an outdoor environment, virtual and augmented reality can provide a unique element to add to the fun of a workout routine. After all, who doesn’t want to be chased by zombies!?