Virtual Reality Increases Exercise Performance

Using Virtual Reality (VR) headsets while exercising can reduce pain and increase how long someone can sustain an activity, according to new research.

The research, led by PhD candidate Maria Matsangidou from EDA, set out to determine how using VR while exercising could affect performance by measuring a raft of criteria: heart rate, including pain intensity, perceived exhaustion, time to exhaustion and private body consciousness.

The results showed “a clear reduction in perception of pain” and effort when using VR technology. The data showed that after a minute the VR group had reported a pain intensity that was 10% lower than the non-VR group.

The improvements shown by the VR group suggest that it could be a “possible way to encourage less active people to exercise by reducing the perceived pain that exercise can cause and improving performance, regardless of private body consciousness.”

Lead researcher Maria Matsangidou said, “It is clear from the data gathered that the use of VR technology can improve performance during exercise on a number of criteria. This could have major implications for exercise regimes for everyone, from occasional gym users to professional athletes.”

As the founder of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic, exercise facility working with children through senior citizens in the Washington, DC, area, I have seen firsthand the power of exergaming (“exergaming” combines the fun of video games, cutting-edge, high-tech equipment and other creative tools with proven fitness tactics) and technology to improve hand-eye coordination and even weight management in all age groups – while having fun.

I’ve seen the positive effects firsthand for both kids and adults.  It’s that feeling that you’re playing a game – not working out – which is at the heart of exergaming’s popularity.

I look at exergaming as stealth exercise.  Whether a player uses a dance game, a geo-tracking app on their iPhone or pretends to be playing in the World Cup using Wii, he/she is getting exercise without realizing it and having fun.  And, shouldn’t working out be fun in order to capture a child’s ongoing attention and maintain our adult enthusiasm for athletic training?

Would you like to learn more about the benefits of exergaming?  Whether you are a person with special needs (occupational therapy, physical therapy, therapeutic exercise), a weekend warrior, someone that wants to get into better shape, in need of weight control, an athlete at any level seeking to improve their game  – – exergaming can help and in a big way!  Call us at 301-231-7138 to try exergaming firsthand.