There are three schools of thought when it comes to personal fitness: at-home, at the gym, and outside. If you exercise regularly, the odds are good that you fit into one of these categories. Though purists will argue that you should “get out and smell the roses,” there's no denying that exercising at home or at the gym is convenient, even if it is perhaps a bit on the boring side. However, that is all set to change. There is a new technology that could revolutionize your personal fitness regimen forever: virtual reality.
The Gamification of Exercise
What does virtual reality offer individuals over other exercise solutions? Fundamentally, it might be “fun.” Virtual reality has the ability to gamify exercise like no other medium or technology. Watching television while jogging at a slow pace on a treadmill or going through the motions on a stationary bike is simply not fun. In fact, it can even discourage you from exercising – the routine can become so monotonous that it becomes off-putting.
Virtual reality is designed to solve this boredom problem. It makes exercise fun and engaging by linking your fitness with virtual worlds, stories, experiences, and gameplay. Companies like BlueGoji are at the forefront of this technology, and seamlessly combine gaming with exercise through their virtual reality applications. And best of all, thanks to companies like Oculus (which powers Samsung VR) and HTC Vive, more and more virtual titles are becoming available every day.
An Immersive Fitness Experience
Imagine being able to ride a horse or race a car against other competitors while exercising. This is exactly what companies like BlueGoji and VIRZoom are setting out to accomplish with their products. The thinking behind this premise is simple: if you're going to be on a stationary bike anyway, why not leverage this time and effort for a more compelling gaming experience? These companies believe not only that gaming can improve your exercise regimen, but that exercise in turn can actually improve your gaming experience as well. It is this symbiotic relationship that could lead to a successful future for these platforms.
Television and web browsing are not immersive experiences. They are passive and stationary. Virtual reality changes this. Today's VR headsets are lightweight and comfortable (and often wireless), allowing you to easily “navigate” within your virtual environment simply by turning your head. And with high-definition displays, incredibly fast refresh rates, and state-of-the-art graphics, the experience more often than not is totally engaging. Not to mention that many VR goggles, like the Oculus Rift, actually support 3D graphics. The difference between watching a 2D image on a television screen and immersing yourself in a fully realized 3D digital environment could not be more defined.
Portable, Mobile, and Accessible
The other great thing with virtual reality goggles is that many of them are completely portable. Though some, like Sony's PlayStation VR, require a supporting console, others can easily be taken with you wherever you go (this is especially true for models that incorporate your smartphone for the screen). This means that you can work out in a virtual environment from anywhere. Whether you're at home or the office, a 3D, virtual experience doesn't have to be out of reach. And with 5G technology right around the corner, you won't have to worry about bandwidth speeds or data limitations either, which will allow VR platforms to make the best possible use of their mobility and wireless connectivity.
Of course, the real world is always out there, beckoning you with sunshine and the smell of morning dew on grass, but as nice as it would be to exercise outside every day, for many of us, it simply isn't feasible. This is where virtual reality can transform your exercise experience. If you are going to be exercising inside, why not make the experience as immersive, engaging, and fun as possible? With VR technology improving every day – it continues to become more affordable, more capable, and more portable – this is now possible. If you're an exercise junkie who is tired of going to the gym, perhaps a VR exercise experience is the next logical step?