The Coming Of Fun Fitness VR
Though few really think of “tech fitness” as its own category, many are beginning to recognize that crossovers between the two can result in great fun and great workouts. Whether by tapping into a mobile program like “Zombies, Run!” (a fun little game that inspires you to run by informing you via audio that zombies are catching up to you), or getting into a Just Dance game, there are all sorts of different ways already that we can entertain ourselves and exercise at the same time, thanks to technology. The general idea is that just as a fitness component can make a game more challenging, so too can the game make the exercise pass by more quickly, or feel less burdensome.
Even if some fun examples already exist in this category, as we just mentioned, it feels as though we’re only just getting started with tech-based fitness. This is because of virtual reality, which is still a relatively new concept and which is without a doubt on its way to establishing all sorts of enjoyable and effective new fitness opportunities.
Consider some of the possibilities.
First, we could well see some of the simplest existing VR games turned into mild workouts if and when VR treadmills become more widespread. The example that comes to mind is Gonzo’s Quest, a popular title among many in the free offerings from slot sites online, and one of the first of its kind to become a VR experience. The game comes to mind not because of any obvious fitness component, but because it’s built around animations of progressing through a jungle and has a clear, if unofficial, resemblance to a game like Temple Run – which, naturally, is all about running. Turning an existing VR game like Gonzo’s Quest into something with a bit more pace, or a focus on interval speed-walking or running in between gaming elements, may be the easiest adaptation from a development standpoint. So whether it’s this specific example or something similar, expect to see some of the smaller-scale VR games we can already play twisted into fitness experiences.
Another development we’ll likely see sooner rather than later is the pairing of games with machinery – not just in the sense of using VR treadmills to enhance existing games, but in a way that brings about entirely original gaming methods. The example that is most readily apparent is cycling, which right now is an exercise-first concept but which can easily be morphed into a game as well. There have been several examples to date of independent creators making VR work with cycling equipment in a smooth, cohesive manner, and the concept is just waiting for the right game developer to come up with something interesting – or even just a good, simulated race. However, we will also be seeing entirely new machinery built with VR in mind that gives us new ways of working out. A company called Icaros has provided an early example with a sort of suspension flying mechanism. We can also imagine VR climbing machines, or exoskeletons that help to simulate boxing workouts or fights. This overarching idea – of new machines making for fun VR workouts – will go as far as developers’ creativity can take it.
Stepping away from traditional workouts that get the heart pumping quickly and which might take advantage of fast, exciting action in VR, there’s also potential for another kind of exercise entirely to be enhanced via the technology: yoga. Yoga and meditation classes in VR have already been launched, and while the ones making headlines have been fairly basic, there’s potential for them to make the basic practice of yoga extraordinary. Think about it with yoga retreats in mind. Because so much of this particular kind of exercise depends on relaxation and closing out distractions, people already travel to some of the most beautiful places on the planet in order to work through yoga routines. VR can allow people to do the same thing without ever leaving their home yoga mats. “Entertaining” or “fun” may not be the word here, but yoga in VR can certainly be more engaging and appealing.
It’s going to be a whole new world, and it’s coming quickly. And for most of us, all it means – through one application or another – is that exercise is about to get a lot more enjoyable.
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