I was very interested in Anna’s presentation about integrating virtual reality into fitness. I don’t know much about virtual reality other than that machines like Oculus Rift are becoming more and more accessible and integrated into many different fields. I know from personal experience that I find it much more appealing to workout if I am attending some kind of class. That way I know that I am getting a well-balanced workout and it becomes much easier to push myself to work hard, compared to when I go to the gym alone and try to figure out what to do. I already knew about a couple of things that could bring the class experience into your home, such as the Peloton bikes, which come with screens so that you can live stream spin classes in the comfort of your own home. While I thought this was a clever idea, it didn’t seem to me like it would offer the same experience of being in a room with a bunch of people who have the same motivations as I do.
After the presentation, I started looking around online to see if there were any companies that were looking to integrate virtual reality with fitness class. One company that is already working on it is Holodia. The Holofit systems integrate virtual reality into spinning, rowing, and the elliptical, allowing people to take part in fitness classes or exercise with friends from home. This extends some of these machines, which function to mimic real activities in the home, to create an even more realistic experience rowing or cycling.
Another company looking to integrate VR into people’s workouts is Black Box VR. Black Box VR has created a virtual reality gym that integrates weights and ropes using a set of cables connected to the VR system, allowing people to move beyond just body weight movements and cardio machines using VR.
A couple of issues that have been pointed out with the current integration of VR into fitness surround the VR machines that are currently available. The cords can get in the way when you are exercising and many of the solutions that companies offer include a system that attaches wires to the ceiling, which may not be feasible for everyone. The actual headpiece itself can also be quite bulky and heavy, which is not ideal for people who are exercising. These issues, plus the current price of many of the set ups are a major factor that needs to be overcome before.
The role of VR in fitness and health doesn’t need to stop at just exercise classes. VR is also being integrated into physical therapy as well. This adds a whole new level of engagement and convenience to physical therapy that wasn’t available before. VR can be used to help patients and physical therapists stay in touch and to help physical therapists monitor the progress of patients, while it also provides a more exciting and engaging experience for the patient.
(Source: VR Fitness Insider)
“About Us” Black Box VR. Web. 14 May 2017
“Bike” Peloton Cycle. Peloton Interactive Inc., Web. 14 May 2017
“Holofit” Holodia. Holodia SAS, Web 14 May 2017
Sawh, Michael “VR fitness looks amazing but there’s still one big problem” Wareable. Web. 14 May 2017
Torres, Ben “VR transforms physical therapy, one baby boomer at a time” VR Fitness Insider. Web. 14 May 2017