Exercise in Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is a great tool for exercise, workouts and fitness. Read this article to fast track your results.

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by Scott Johannes, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Health Content Writer

Why read this?

Community members have successfully used exercise in virtual reality for their fitness and workout needs, resulting in the improvements listed below.

Physical improvements, including increases in:

  • Strength
  • Energy level throughout the day
  • Balance
  • Safety (less risk of falls)
  • Reaction speed
  • Movement velocity
  • Coordination

How people are using exercise in VR

VR gaming has incredible potential for exercise to achieve fitness goals. Subsequently, each day users are reaching and exceeding their goals in ways they haven’t been able to find through traditional exercise.

The rest of this article is divided into 3 steps to supercharge your journey to your goals:
1) Get the the right equipment
2) Find the the right games
3) Play!
Scroll down to get started!

1) Get the right equipment

Comfort, enjoyment and performance are critical to attaining VR fitness and cardio goals. Subsequently, having the right equipment for exercise in virtual reality is needed to allow maximum focus on achieving results. Scroll down to look through equipment recommended by the community.

Top equipment recommendations for exercise in VR

Headset recommendation: Meta Quest 2

Why: Popular, low price point (compared to other headsets), easy to setup, easy to learn, lots of games and apps, and doesn’t require any other hardware to run (like a VR-enabled computer). A VR headset is required for play.

Aftermarket headset strap (for Meta Quest 2): BOBOVR M2 Pro Battery Pack Head Strap

Why: Highly rated, high comfort, integrated battery pack for extended play, and battery is located in the back which helps balance the headset weight, which may help reduce neck strain. Neck issues are very commonly reported in VR users, which makes this an important issue. If you have a different headset, search for a headset strap that spreads the weight of the headset out over the head, including ones that add weight (such as a battery pack) to the back of the head to balance the weight front to back.

Controller Grips (for Meta Quest 2): Kiwi design Controller Grips

Why: Highly rated, improved grip, easier battery access, and has straps that tighten around the back of the hand. This help reduce hand fatigue from holding the controllers, improving comfort, reducing pain, and improving enjoyment and game performance. The hand straps may also enable users to play that do not have the grip strength to hold a controller.

Flooring recommendation (for small playspaces): ProxiMat

Why: Highly rated, allows player to know where their playspace center is by feeling the center dot with their foot, provides padding and grip to improve comfort and reaction times.

Flooring recommendation (for larger playspaces): Prosource Fit Extra Thick Puzzle Exercise Mat

Why: Highly rated, allows players to have their entire playspace upgraded with added padding and grip, with can lead to better comfort and reaction times.

Footwear: Wear supportive shoes that you would exercise in

Why: Supportive shoes like running shoes may improve comfort, reduce chances of slipping and falls, reduce fatigue and strain on the muscles and joints, and may provide faster reaction time for improved performance.

An image of running shoes

2) Find the right games

Try out a lot of different VR games. The right games for you may be different than what others need for exercise in virtual reality. The game needs to make the body move to get results, and at the same time you need to like playing it so that you will keep coming back over and over. Scroll down to look through game trailers recommended by the community.

Top game recommendations for exercise In VR

Gorilla Tag is a “Tag, you’re it” style game using your arms to run, climb and chase others.
Dance Central is a rhythm dancing game moving the body through specific dance moves.
Until You Fall is a combat-oriented hack-n-slash game.
Blaston is a competitive 1 vs 1 movement shooter game.
FitXR is an immersive fitness trainer platform.
Holofit is an immersive gamified fitness platform. Can be used with some home gym equipment.
Cook-Out – A Sandwich Tale is a fast-paced reaching and cooking game involving putting together the right ingredients.
In Death: Unchained is a combat-oriented movement role playing game.
Knockout League is a gamified boxing game.
Liteboxer is a gamified reaction boxing trainer.
OhShape is a movement game placing the body in specific positions to fit through holes in the wall.
Phantom: Covert Ops is a combat-oriented stealthy shooter focusing on using the arms to move via paddling in a kayak.
Pistol Whip is a combat-oriented face-paced shooter.
Space Pirate Trainer is a combat-oriented arena-based shooter.
Superhot VR is a combat-oriented, level-based shooter.
Synth Riders is a rhythm dancing game.
Thrill of the Fight is a competitive boxing game.
VZFit is a gamified fitness platform that uses Google Earth terrain as the background. Works with some home gym equipment.

3) Play!

Using the recommendations above for exercise in virtual reality, grab some games and some equipment and give them a try. Keep trying new games and equipment to find things that allow you to have the most comfort, most fun, and best performance. This will keep you coming back over time and help towards the results you want and deserve!

Summary

Play VR games with the right equipment and app can lead to amazing exercise to upgrade your body’s health and fitness.

Keep trying new equipment and games until you find the ones that work for you.

What to do now

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