Virtual Reality Games for Improving Fitness and Health

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!

Fauja Singh

The Inspirational Marathon Runner Fauja Singh

There are many centenarians in the UK, but Fauja stands out from the rest. When he was over 100 years old he was able to run the London Marathon! An amazing accomplishment! He holds many different records according to his wikipedia page.

Who is Fauja Singh?

Fauja Singh was born on the 1st of April 1911. He is part of the Sikh community in the UK and is of Punjabi Indian descent.

I’ve been following Fauja Singh for quite a few years. I first saw him on a TV Documentary when he took part in the London Marathon. On there he described his diet, and it’s clear that he’s been practicing calorie restriction for many years.

On Wikipedia it says that Mr Singh is 5 ft 8″ tall and weighs just 115 lbs. So he is very lean, but this is probably a result of expending lots of energy running and aging itself, not just CR.

CR Slows Down Muscle Aging

It’s been shown in rodents and rhesus monkeys that a CR diet preserves muscle mass and function with age. Also, in biopsies taken from people practicing long term calorie restriction (age 58 ± 7.4), gene expression profile of their muscles was found to be more similar to 30 year old controls. Big muscles require more calories, which accelerates ageing. CR does decrease muscle mass a little (depends on severity of restriction), but it preserves the muscles you have and its function for decades longer.

Fauja Singh Diet Plan

Fauja Singh believes that the reason he has lived so long is that he also abstains from both smoking and alcohol, and he follows a vegetarian diet. He includes many fresh foods in this diet. Fauja has also limited the amount of food that he eats every day.

In the BBC interview below he told the reporter that he ate only a child’s size portion of food. He is practicing calorie restriction which has been known to prolong lifespan and it seems to be paying off for him.

A great example to follow!

I respect people like Fauja a lot. He has tried to live the best he could given the circumstances and things that he faced in life. He is a strong person who desires to live life and not slow down.

I follow a similar lifestyle to Faujua: I don’t drink alcohol, I’ve never smoked, and for most of my life I’ve been active.

I’ve also been vegetarian since 2007 and ‘mostly’ vegan since 2012, and will continue to eat this way for health and ethical reasons.

I hope I can be in as good shape as he is when I reach that age. Actually, I hope to reach the 22nd century! 🙂 By then, I think it’s very possible we’ll have ways to reverse aging.

Many people today in their 60s and 70s are not able to do what this man has accomplished, but I think that more people could, if they followed this way of life. Some people say: “it’s genes” and then forget about it.

I think people underestimate how much of an impact diet and exercise can have. You have to remember that the choices you make today are important for your health decades from now. Make the right choices.

I recommend checking out and joining his Facebook page to keep up to date with what he’s up to.

 

Check out the following on Fauja Singh

Calorie restriction in humans inhibits the PI3K/AKT pathway and induces a younger transcription profile

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714316/

Is Too Much Exercise Bad For You?

Is Too Much Exercise Bad For You?

Exercise is good for you, but not too much!

One area that I’ve neglected in my lifestyle is fitness.

You’d think that I would find it easy to get into a routine where I’d keep up a training routine, but this hasn’t been the case. You know how it is right? The thought of getting out when it’s cold outside in the morning to begin your run is as far as you get before you utter the words “I’ll start tomorrow.”  I did that for a few days!  But then around the beginning of April I made a decision, set a goal, and got out the door at 5 am to begin my early morning run.

So anyway,  as I stepped out the door, set the timer, and thought to myself  “this is going to be easy.”

I ran to the park, so far so good, I thought. As I step it up a bit, trying to complete the run in a fast time, my muscles started to burn, I was struggling to get in enough air to carry on going . . . And then  I stop. And then start again. And then stop.  And start again. This went on the entire run until I finished.

Wow!  How unfit I felt! How could I let myself become so unfit like this?

I am at a very healthy weight.  I have a very healthy blood pressure and very good blood results, but my fitness sucked.

I realized that this had to change. I had been fit almost my entire life but had let it go. I used to run home from school often, which was about 3 miles. I also played a lot of football which kept me at peak fitness. I used to drink lots of protein shakes and really keep on top of my physical health.

At least 5 days each week, no matter what the weather is like, I force myself out the door to go for a run. It’s getting started that’s the hard part. When you’re in the middle of the run you feel good. When you finish, you feel amazing!  Before I get out the door, I start my morning with a couple cups of mint tea which opens up the airways and is great for your breathing. I eat a bit of licorice, and maybe eat half or a whole small banana. It only takes me about 20 minutes from the moment I wake up to get myself out of the door.

Things I noticed over the weeks

  • I feel so alive and happy after each run!
  • My sleep quality improved and I’ve been able to maintain a very good sleeping pattern
  • After each run, I noticed a nice “glow” when I looked in the mirror.
  • I feel that I have more energy (exercise increases the number of mitochondria in your cells)
  • It helps me concentrate better and gives me better clarity or focus to take on the challenges of the day

It’s also just so nice to get out in the morning. It’s such a peaceful and beautiful time.  Just me and the birds. 🙂  I’ve actually grown to really enjoy it and look forward to running!  And what a difference 6 weeks makes! Although I still have some ways to go, I can see a dramatic improvement. My pace has picked up and I’m no longer having to stop frequently just to catch my breath. Every time I go out I push myself just a little bit further. I’ve noticed that it’s best not to pA9R9dOvCYAIG0XMay too much attention to the changes over a period of days because it seems like you’re getting nowhere. But when you look at week to week, there’s definitely big improvements.

I’ll definitely keep this going!  At the moment I’m running between 10 to 12 miles per week. According to studies, this also happens to be the optimal distance for the best health.  Running very long distances can damage health (see the video posted).

So the question I’ve been asking myself: Should I run the half marathon this year in October?

I’ll be looking to buy a device soon so I can begin to track my running and improvements in speed & time. I’ll share here in the future as I keep you updated. 🙂

Related articles:

 

 

1. James H O’Keefe1,2, Carl J Lavie3,4. Run for your life … at a comfortable speed and not too far
Heart doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2012-302886

Yoga

Some cool mini videos from Tara Styles. To view more just click on here profile HERE

Below is one of her videos on strength building with Yoga

This is a preview of the Yoga DVD I use. It’s really nice! I love doing yoga to this one!

Also Arturo (another person who does CR) has some good stuff on Yoga here

Free 5 day pass

I just spoke to David Lloyd Health club yesterday because my friend recommended me for a free 5 day pass (or was it 3? will have to ask my friend again). I really want to start building up my strength as I said in my previous post. Last time I managed to bench about 70kg weights, which is actually not bad at all for weighing something around 50kg. I’ll probably start slow because I’d rather not risk any injuries… . I think I’m probably going to gain a few pounds of muscle and see how I feel then. Mostly I’m dong this for bone health though because with CR that is of course very important. We don’t want fractures so starting weight bearing exercises at a young age is a good idea 🙂

Nothing really new in terms of any changes to my CR lately, and I’ll probably be doing a repeat of a few blood tests as the last ones had a few unexpected numbers. I’m sure everything will be fine now, things are looking up 😀

Hope everyone is dong well, and CR is going good…

Exercising again

It’s been 8 months since I took cipro and my tendons are pretty much able to withstand exercise now. The doctor told me that it would take 3 weeks for my tendinitis induced by ciprofloxacin to heal, however it actually has taken 32 weeks!!!

But anyway, I’m back to doing yoga twice a week with 1 hour each session. I am practicing my Katas ready to go back to Karate in a couple months. I am also able to run now, just the other day I ran 5 miles straight without any problems, and actually even though I haven’t done this sort of running in over 8 months I didn’t feel unfit? LoL. I am also rebuilding my strength back up with my free weights. I’m using a pretty low weight right now but will work up very slowly to avoid further injury. Anyway thats it for this post… looks like I might be definitely fully restored by 12th month mark 🙂