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I’m a huge fan of virtual reality. I think it’s going to be one of the most important technologies of the 21st century and change the world. It’s still very much in its infancy, but the technology is compelling enough that it will catch on in the coming years as more people get to try it. And one big benefit of VR over traditional games is that it gets you moving. Virtual reality can play an important role in improving health and fitness.
Since I have a huge passion for virtual reality, I’ve also wondered how I could incorporate it into my blogging. Gaming and health seem like it wouldn’t go together, but it absolutely does when it comes to VR.
Since the Rift came out, there has been a flood of games released, many of them require you to keep moving, multitask, and have good coordination. Some of them require you to drop to the floor and get up again multiple times.
Now, don’t get me wrong, VR isn’t going to replace long-distance running or a workout at the gym, but it can provide a good baseline exercise and enough movement to keep you somewhat fit and even help you lose weight.
This is me playing some Beat Saber earlier this evening! 🙂
VR is helping some people lose weight
Don, or otherwise known as “vrgamerdude” has an on-going series where he and his wife are using virtual reality to lose weight and improve their health.
The series started back in February and they’ve stuck with their commitment and their last video in the series was published in May. They’ve still got some way to go before they reach their target weight, but it’s great that they’re sticking to it and haven’t given up.
The good thing about VR is that it makes exercise fun. You can literally put yourself into any kind of environment and space, and get to it.
And who knows, in 10 years time, VR might’ve advanced so much that it will have full body tracking and people could exercise together even if they are not in the same physical space!
My favorite VR Fitness games for Oculus Rift
Below are a few games which I’ve played and found them to be quite a little workout!
#1 Echo Arena
If you know the movie “Ender’s Game” you’ll definitely see some similarities. In fact, the developers of the game took a lot of inspiration from the movie. The game itself involves a flying disc that you have to throw into the opponent’s goal.
Since you’re in zero-g, it makes things a bit more difficult! The disc bounces off the walls and at times can get a bit hectic! It’ll sure bring on a little bit of a sweat as you battle it out in the arena.
Echo Arena is one of the first VR Esports and there have already been competitions where people competed to win thousands of dollars.
VR is going to be huge in Esports in the coming years. If you’ve played Echo Arena, you’ll understand why.
Echo Arena is great for teamwork and exercise. Just make sure you have some space and don’t go punching your wall!
#2 Beat Saber
Two light saber’s and great music, what’s not to love!? Beat saber hit Oculus and Steam on the 1st of May and is topping the charts for one of the best selling games of the week (including pancake games). Why? To understand how awesome it is, you’d have to try it. There have been several viral videos of the game come out over the past few weeks, and it created a lot of hype.
In my opinion, the game totally lived up to that hype. On ‘expert mode’ the game is really challenging. Your arms will be hurting after you play this game! But that’s okay, you’ll want to go back to it over and over and suffer some more.
And by the end of it, you’ll feel de-stressed and feel like you’ve just been to the gym. The game has you constantly moving and demands your focus. As you play, you have blocks coming at you with arrows pointing to which direction you have to slice, and then you have to dodge obstacles as well. The game changes things up very quickly, so you really do have to think fast!
It’s not only a great physical workout but also a great mental one and good for coordination.
Here’s a video which went viral back in March. You also get a sense of how it is because they use a Mixed Reality setup.
#3 Sprint Vector
Sprint vector is both a single player and multiplayer VR game that go head to head on a variety of tracks. There are many obstacles and things that can stop you in your tracks, so you have to move and think really fast. The gain momentum by swinging your arms and this can get quite tiring after a few minutes. If you want a good workout, this is the game for you!
#4 Knockout League
If you want to take out your frustrations and get a little exercise, then try out Knockout League VR. Inside the ring, you’ll fight several different opponents, each with their own fighting style and quirks. This game will make you swing your arms, dodge, duck, and make you out of breath in no time!
#5 Eleven Table Tennis VR
Before I got VR, I wasn’t much of a table tennis fan. I had only played a few times, and I was terrible from what I remember. VR gave me a chance to improve my table tennis skills in no time! The game has several difficulties, but as you climb higher, you’ll find yourself dashing from left to right to reach the ball.
Table tennis might not sound like it would help with fitness, but I promise you if you give it a go, you’ll not only have a great time, but you will get a bit of exercise too!
I’ve put my cousin in the game, and he says that it’s fairly accurate to how real table tennis feels. I’ll take his word for it since he has won several trophies playing table tennis and he’s only 10!
#6 The Climb
If you’ve ever thought about rock climbing, but not had the guts to go and do it in real life, then The Climb might be a great game for you. If you have Oculus Touch controllers, you’ll be using them to grip onto the rocks for your dear life and make it to the top. After a while, holding your hands out will start to hurt, and you will get tired.
But that’s okay, it’s just a game, and there are save points. 🙂 I’ve put this game last, not because it isn’t one of the best games in VR, but it’s a different type of workout. Not so much that it gets you out of breath, but it feels more like an arm and shoulder workout.
Will VR Fitness be an actual thing that people do in the future?
You might think that it’s a passing fad, especially if you’ve never tried VR. And I totally understand that. But VR is definitely here to stay, and not only can it help bring people together, it can also make people healthier by keeping you active.
There have been many people who’ve documented improvements in mental health, physical health and achieved significant amounts of weight loss after they got an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
Dedicated VR Fitness centers may start popping up over the next decade. But in the meantime, even from home, you can use virtual reality to make exercise fun!