Virtual reality for total immersion
Virtual reality is a technology that allows users to immerse themselves in a virtual environment using a VR headset. In this artificial environment, the user can direct his gaze wherever he wants, he can also move and interact with the different elements of the virtual world. Disconnection with reality, both visual and auditory, is made possible thanks to 360° sound and 3D screens that cover the user’s entire field of vision. The accelerometer, gyroscope, and position sensors, positioned in the helmet and on the user’s limbs, allow full interaction with the virtual world. Be careful not to confuse virtual reality with augmented reality. The latter is simply to visually enrich reality with superimposed information. There is therefore, in this case, no disconnection with reality. It is easy to understand how virtual reality is a revolution in the world of video games, but what does it have to do with fitness?
A way to motivate yourself
Playing sports is an excellent solution for losing weight, building muscle or maintaining good health and shape… Provided that the physical activity is regular and sustainable over time. And therein lies the whole difficulty. The main key to success in fitness or bodybuilding is motivation. A large part of the people who decide to get back in shape, give up after a few weeks. They are tired of moving around in the gym, or prefer to enjoy the sofa rather than performing a series of squats in the living room. This is completely understandable, running on a treadmill in front of a wall is nothing exciting and motivating. On the other hand, running on a carpet having the impression of running in the savannah, riding an exercise bike having the feeling of moving in the middle of the forest,
Normally, more motivation and more stimulation lead to self-transcendence. But what about the effectiveness of virtual reality on sports performance? A study from the Psychology of Sport and Exercise recently demonstrated the impact of VR on the motivation and results of athletes. By comparing the sports performance of two groups of forty athletes (one using VR, the other not using VR), the researchers realized that the athletes using virtual reality succeeded in carrying out a bodybuilding two minutes longer than the group not using virtual reality.
A solution to be accompanied
Virtual reality can also be a great way to learn and execute movements correctly. A poorly executed bodybuilding exercise can have more negative consequences than positive ones. This is why sports coaches are so important. Problem: in group lessons, coaches cannot properly follow all their students and individual lessons are very expensive. Fortunately, today’s best VR fitness experiences like Black Box or Holodia, allow, in addition to immersing their users in a stimulating virtual world, to accompany them as well as possible to perform the perfect gesture. Thanks to the sensors positioned on the wrists and ankles, the exercises can be carried out to the nearest centimeter. And of course, these same sensors, like connected fitness objects, allow you to know exactly the number of calories expended, the kilometers traveled, etc.
The limits of VR in fitness
Virtual reality fitness products are more and more numerous, are improving day by day and are more and more varied (boxing, dance, gymnastics, etc.). However, in our view, VR experiences in fitness still suffer from two major issues: cost and nausea issues. The various virtual reality kits currently cost at least several hundred euros and require a powerful computer or a game console. The nausea problems depend on each: some can live a VR experience for hours without no problems, and others feel nauseous after a few minutes… We believe these issues will gradually resolve over time.
It seems obvious to us that in the near future, virtual reality will replace today’s screens. On returning home, everyone will be free to play, communicate, and of course do their sport with the help of virtual reality. We believe that virtual reality can revolutionize the practice of fitness at home in the years to come, but this technology will have to improve further, and above all, it will have to become affordable for everyone.