Fitness and wellbeing have been among the buzz topics for quite some time. A healthy lifestyle, healthy food, and a healthy look have even overrun the fashion for nice clothes, beauty products, and expensive purchases. Most people, however, still struggle with getting to the desired appearance, feeling, and weight of their body; they tend to make New Year’s resolutions and never follow them.
The truth is, sticking to anything is hard; it requires a lot of stamina and self-discipline. Luckily, many tech advancements, like trackers, scales, apps, smart equipment (ropes, bicycles, ergometer, etc.) and other devices significantly improve the chances for anyone to get fit in 2021. Virtual reality has joined the ranks of supporting technology with VR development companies creating new home-appropriate headsets and targeting the fitness market over the past decade. How virtual reality works, what the future holds for VR in Singapore when it comes to fitness, and which apps can help cross out the healthy goal from the list; all these issues and more about VR in fitness are expounded below.
Can VR development companies help you stay fit?
Many online magazines and newspapers such as The New York Times, Forbes and The Guardian used to promote pretty skeptical views on the implementation of VR technology into the world of fitness. Yet, their newer reviews now advertise a completely opposite opinion. Those who were reluctant to try the magic of headsets at first have become the true devotees of this innovative technology.
But what speaks better on the effectiveness of VR development than the case studies and real-life stories, right?
Let’s start with a good-old story from 2017. Job Stauffer played Soundboxing, his favorite VR game (yes, at that time, this was just a game, not specifically targeting fitness) for five months. As a result of 20-45 minute sessions a day, he lost 22 kilograms in that short period. Besides weight loss, many people go into VR fitness to stay active during lockdowns and travels, to maintain good health, to remain creative, and to find a method for training and inner zen at all times.
Virtual reality is also known for its therapeutic application, so its implementation in fitness is just as natural as the combination of sports and physical therapy. Any VR developer in Singapore considers these benefits since scientific research has revealed that VR can alleviate anxiety and paranoia, or even manage PTSD. Knowing that Maria Matsangidou, a researcher in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, studied whether VR can help deal with pain during workouts. She experimentally proved that the implementation of VR during physical activities (especially those related to weightlifting) could reduce pain by 10% hence giving athletes and trainees more strength for their workouts.
Training exercises are challenging both physically and mentally; nevertheless, the endorphins released by the body after physical activities make all the sweating and hard work worth the time and effort. To set the right mood and add some entertainment to the process, many people use music while working out, which brings about 8% of enjoyment, according to Eric Malafeew, the CEO of Vizroom. However, the application of VR development into fitness routines can raise the joy of exercising to 26%. Considering that VR incorporates music into its apps, any person going for VR fitness can actually increase the pleasure from an otherwise dull workout by more than a third.
The advantages and limitations of VR fitness
Exercising in virtual reality has already proven to be effective in both empirical and theoretical studies. However, besides scientific success, VR continues to grow its army of followers and supporters, meaning that there are other pros that this kind of fitness can offer to a person besides the research findings and statistical data. Here are the top benefits of working out in VR:
- Variability of workouts: VR application development grows day by day to provide new creative ways of training without the irksome pushups and planks.
- Sociability: even though you might be training at home alone, the apps allow competing with friends and the whole network of participants thus raising your social activity.
- Motivation: the gamification of fitness and social aspects of the VR development apps offer a point of competition to otherwise standard and tiresome training hence ensuring more reasons to train harder and longer.
- Availability: all you need is a set of gear and internet to train anywhere and anytime.
- Extensive use: while VR fitness is a majorly home-based activity, exercising with VR in Singapore gains popularity even in brick-and-mortar fitness clubs. This aspect provides for the universal application of VR workouts and a possibility to extend the scoring and competition from home to the outer world.
- Avatars: in VR, people get avatars instead of their own bodies during training; this feature can help avoid intimidation experienced by many gym members.
- Cost: the average cost of a VR fitness game is almost equal to a gym membership. The last year’s tendency towards closing gyms proved that VR fitness could become a perfect substitution for the same price.
In this respect, the advantages of VR can also be extended to greater accessibility of fitness to people during the pandemic lockdowns and closer control over one’s health. This article aims not to advertise the benefits of virtual reality but rather to show its current state when it comes to working out in a VR headset. Therefore, it is also essential to highlight a few limitations and disadvantages faced in the VR fitness:
- Equipment: if compared to YouTube videos, VR workouts entail more equipment. With YT tutorials, one might do without any additional elements, while VR training always requires a VR headset + an app.
- Space: just like any other workout, VR fitness needs even more than usual space to be safe and effective.
- Computing power: if a computer-based VR app is used, the computer and home internet connection must be sufficient to support all the VR features.
- Wearing a headset: this aspect, which is a must for any VR training session, might be a disadvantage for some users.
- Hygiene: if the same headset is used in a gym by several people who normally sweat during workouts, the hygiene question arises. Luckily, some VR development companies already offer one-time or individual covers for gym members; yet, not all facilities are able to provide those at present.
- Cost: while the price of a VR fitness app itself equals gym membership, a VR set (required here) will be a costly investment.
Some of these downsides are already being accessed and fixed by VR development teams. However, at this point in history, VR fitness remains more popular at home as an individual activity rather than a universally-available gym feature.
Top apps for VR workouts
The top apps can be considered those most preferred by the players and those distinguished by prominent figures in the VR world. While personal likings might differ, the experts from VR Fitness Insider made their choice at the end of 2020. Thus, based on their opinion, here are the best apps for virtual reality workouts.
- Supernatural – this new masterpiece of VR application development was introduced in 2020. Available in the US and Canada for now, this app offers the best workouts with the most popular music and stunning coaches.
- Echo VR – for those who want to train in the conditions of competition, Echo VR offers a team-based VR game. This VR development team took the challenge to the next level, namely into a gravity-free environment where everything is possible.
- The Climb – this simulation of the climbing challenge can be perfect if you love static activities. Players enjoy incredible views during their climbs and need great concentration to complete the levels.
- The Thrill of the Fight – the given application is a perfect boxing game for high-intensity cardio and fighting experience. The Thrill of the Fight has already appeared in most VR fitness app reviews, so it has definitely got the community’s attention and should be on your list of must-tries.
- Beat Saber – this app is about rhythmic actions accompanied by a perfect music background. Players need some space to ensure that no vases are broken in the house, but even half an hour of exercising per day can help to significantly lose weight for those interested.
- Pistol Whip – this action game naturally demands much movement, high concentration and quick reaction. While dragging their users deeper into the plot, the VR development companies that created the game make the players sweat a lot to stay alive.
- FitXR – this development is another addition to the VR fitness world. FitXR is a hard, fast and exhausting cardio application. No matter whether you prefer boxing or dancing, the app offers both versions of training routines.
- In Death: Unchained can serve as the perfect arms workout while not being specifically designed for fitness. In case you are looking for a leg workout, VZFit can be of use; however, you will need a bike to try out all functionalities of VZFit.
On top of the list provided by VR Fitness Insider , you might also consider trying the innovation of VR development called OhShape for the full-body workouts. In their turn, Dance Central can raise one’s heart rate with its dance routines, while Creed: Rise to Glory is based on martial arts, strategy and much sweating.
VR fitness after the pandemic
The future of VR in fitness is quite promising, and the current state of affairs proves this assertion. The industry was expected to sell 81 million VR headsets by the end of 2020. Nevertheless, the actual number did not even reach 30 million items. This outcome might seem like a dealbreaker, but in fact, FitXR startup raised $7.5 million last year to prove the opposite.
The pandemic of 2020 promoted the idea and effectiveness of VR fitness throughout the world. Closed gyms, lockdowns and curfews prevented many people from their daily running routines and working-out activities, pushing them towards VR fitness to substitute for the open-air practice. Tennis players stuck in their residences, swimmers missing the pools, and boxers in need of daily sparring activities used VR in their regular practice sessions. Such a vast application by the public, including professional athletes, proves that VR development companies will retain their share of work in 2021 and even after the pandemic is over.
Another aspect of VR development is evidenced in Singapore, where businesses merge games with fitness, making the product all about entertainment, meanwhile incorporating the workout routines seamlessly. The good-old Guitar Hero with punching and squatting has become a fun game with much physical effort hence turning the app into a fitness one. Such hidden incorporation of physical activities in VR games will get broader and more popular, and the lookalikes of Synth Riders or Audioshield will definitely enter the market soon.
Finally, it is crucial to mention the last yet not the least important point for VR application development. Owing to the benefits and entertainment offered by the virtual reality workouts, more and more professional trainers and programs shift their expert activities into VR rather than YouTube. Such exercises continue to gain popularity among cyclers, rowers, boxers and runners, making VR platforms the future of fitness and entertainment in line with a new replacement for YouTube.
Until the fashion for slim bodies, fit looks and a healthy lifestyle persists, any kind of fitness-related activity will thrive. The merging of VR development and fitness entailed many different changes and advancements; however, it was 2020 that spiked the numbers and provided enough data to state that the future of VR in fitness is bright. Virtual reality has become a perfect solution for those who are shy to join the gym but want to improve their life as well as for fitness lovers who cannot live a day without training.
The industry is still at the early stages of its growth, and so far it cannot claim to replace physical gyms and training sessions completely. VR Singapore development companies continue to release new features, create new apps, and mix fitness with the new technology even further. For now, VR fitness is a complementary function or a great option for home-based training. Notwithstanding, the rapid and persistent VR development companies can and probably will become a viable alternative to the traditional exercising facilities.