What is VR? [A Quick-Start Guide]

Virtual Reality (VR) is an easy-to-use and fun way to reach your mental and physical wellness goals. Read this article to learn more.

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

Why read this?

This article will help you understand
1) What is virtual reality (VR)?
2) How VR is used for fun and to help people
3) How to get started using VR
Scroll down to get started!

1) What is virtual reality (VR)?

VR creates simulated experiences where the user is inside of the experience.

For example, instead of watching a show on TV, imagine being in the show and able to interact with it.

VR allows this to occur, all within the safety of your home, using a VR headset.

Experiences can range from passive entertainment to interactive games.

In addition, there are options for many different types of abilities and interests including for those with physical or cognitive limitations.

Here’s an example of a VR headset

Meta Quest 2 – Our recommendation for a beginner VR headset.

Popular, low price point (compared to other headsets), easy to setup, easy to learn, lots of experiences and games (some free, some paid), and doesn’t require any other hardware to run.

It comes with a headset that is worn, and controllers that are held in the hands.

Some games and experiences can be done from sitting or lying down, and some require standing up. Some require use of the controllers, and some allow the use of just reaching with the hands.

Also, a caregiver or family member can see and control the experience via their compatible smart device (like a smartphone), making it easier to use the headset with those that cannot manage the device themselves such as children or those with physical or cognitive impairments.

There are a lot of other optional equipment pieces that people purchase for VR use. However, to start out all that is needed is the recommended headset, space to play and a wireless internet connection.

Once you have the right VR headset, then comes the fun part, downloading and playing games! Move on to the next section!

2) How VR is used for fun and to help people

VR is a wonderful tool for fun regardless of a person’s abilities.

In addition to entertainment, it can also help with improving mental and physical wellness. Every day, community members are using VR gaming to reach and exceed their goals, leading to improved overall health.

Furthermore, they are having fun while doing it! See below for examples of how the community is using VR for these goals.

Example Games

Fitness and Weight Loss
Starter Recommendation: Beat Saber
Workouts and Exercise
Starter Recommendation: Supernatural
Reaction Speed / Dexterity
Starter Recommendation: Thrill of the Fight
Thrill of the Fight is a high-quality boxing game with fast movements and striking. Train your strikes on the weight bag, work on punching rhythm on the speed bag, and dual opponents in the ring!
Mental Wellness
Starter Recommendation: TRIPP
TRIPP is a research and science-backed app that helps with calm and focus. Guided meditations, breathing exercises, mini-games and frequently added new content helps with overall mindfulness. Beautiful, thoughtful environments add to the overall experience.
Discovery
Starter Recommendation: Google Earth VR
Google Earth VR is an exploration experience where you can fly over a city, stand at the edge of a mountain, and even soar into space.
Space Exploration
Starter Recommendation: Apollo 11 HD VR
Apollo 11 HD VR is an app where you can experience the Apollo 11 mission through the eyes of those that lived it.
Education
Starter Recommendation: Ocean Rift
Ocean Rift is the world’s first VR aquatic safari park.
Fishing
Starter Recommendation: Real VR Fishing
Real VR Fishing is a fishing game that lets you feel the taste of fishing and relax in real-world fishing spots.
Pain Management
Starter Recommendation: Alcove
Alcove is a calming app with a variety of enjoyable experiences that can turn the focus away from pain.
Relaxation
Starter Recommendation: Cubism
Cubism is a relaxing, zen-like 3D puzzle game.
Humorous Adventure
Starter Recommendation: Vacation Simulator
Vacation Simulator is a game where you get ready to splash, s’more, snowball, and selfie your way to optimal relaxation!
Shooter / Combat
Starter Recommendation: Boneworks
Boneworks is a high intensity experimental physics action puzzle shooter.
Combat Adventure
Starter Recommendation: Vader Immortal
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series is a grand adventure where you can hone your lightsaber skills, navigate dangers, and come face to face with Vader himself.
Cooking
Starter Recommendation: Cook-Out – A Sandwich Tale
Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale is a fast-paced reaching and cooking game involving putting together the right ingredients.
Dancing
Starter Recommendation: Dance Central
Dance Central is a rhythm dancing game moving the body through specific dance moves.
Golfing
Starter Recommendation: Walkabout Mini Golf
Walkabout Mini Golf is an app where you can play mini-golf on various different challenging holes and in different fun environments.

3) How to get started using VR

If you don’t have a VR headset yet, consider buying one or find someone that has one to try. Scroll back up to the top of this article for a link to the headset we recommend. Not every headset has access to the same apps, which is why it is important to get the right one so you can play the apps you want.

After you have one, the headset will teach you how to access their app store, where you can download apps like the ones listed here.

Be ready to try lots of different VR games and experiences to find the ones you love. There are many more amazing games and experiences waiting for you than this article can list.

Remember that VR is not just fun, it is a powerful tool for achieving mental and physical wellness goals!

Summary

Virtual Reality (VR) is an easy-to-use and fun way to reach your mental and physical wellness goals.

It is useable by people with a variety of different abilities and can help improve health if used correctly.

Try it out yourself to improve your health!

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