We all want to get fit and stay fit, but many often find that shifting their lifestyles so that they become more focused on exercise can be a tough thing to do. Not everyone has the opportunity, time, or space to visit the gym or get a personal trainer, or even sprint outside for a run across the neighborhood. Of course, while everyone has their own balance and finding a routine that works for you is important, there’s no denying the fact that a healthy diet and plenty of exercise are key to achieving the body you want. Thankfully, because of advancements in technology, working out and getting into the habit of working out aren’t just easy, but could even be fun.
It’s all thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality technology. Earlier this year, CNN asked the question: “Is virtual reality the future of fitness?” As the months go by, it’s becoming quite clear that yes, it is.
Across the world, several companies have found a way to use the technology of virtual reality (VR) headsets in ways different from their intended purposes. Originally intended for the use of video games, these headsets are evolving into tools for fitness, transporting people who have little choice but to work out at home into stunning vistas, and even allowing them to compete with friends. In fact, products such as WebRacing advertise the social competition as a major draw to their system. “It’s ideal for anyone with a competitive streak as you can choose to race against other users all over the world,” they write. “You could find yourself competing in the Oxford vs Cambridge boat race against people in all four corners of the globe! There’s even a forum so you can chat online with fellow Web Racers.”
This social aspect is something that certainly appeals to many people who want to work out, as it adds an element of competition to their fitness regime. In an increasingly connected world, social features are becoming the most important aspect of games, with Gaming Realms, a company that designs and operates social online slots, saying that “Social Gaming, where the Company’s activities are focused, is currently worth approximately US$1.7 billion and is expected to grow to c.US$4 billion by 2015.”
However, technology continues to improve, and some have even created products that don’t need bulky exercise equipment. Products such as WideRun are fully compatible with your bike, and are essentially plug-and-play. All you have to do is install your bike and connect the system, put on the VR headset, and get racing. You’ll also encounter various racers along the way, and while it’s not a system designed for competition, encountering other people is still a great added touch.
And, of course, there’s a system designed for those who want a challenge as well. The Icaros, a machine designed by German design company Hyve, the contraption is paired with a VR headset to bring physical activity to a virtual experience. How much will it cost? Johannes Scholl, the designer of the machine, told the Guardian, “One prototype is very, very expensive but what we are aiming at is that [the price] can compare to gym equipment you would normally buy for your home.”