Fitness: you either love it or hate it. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much in the middle.
Personally, I’m at the ‘love it’ end of the scale but I get why it’s not for everyone. Results don’t happen overnight, classes can feel intimidating, you can get injured, and it’s much easier crashing in front of the TV with a glass of vino after a long day at work, than pounding out 5 km on the treadmill.
But what if you could combine a workout with an evening gaming on the sofa? Sounds almost too good to be true.
Now I know not everyone jumps out of bed every day thinking ‘I’d love to go for a run’ (yes, hands up, I’m one of those weird morning people) but no matter how much you hate the gym you can’t fail to be impressed by the new NordicTrack VR Bike that grabbed loads of headlines at this year’s CES. Combining a spin bike machine with an HTC VIVE VR headset, you can cycle your way through virtual worlds controlling the play by how much – or how little – effort you put in.
Some might argue this is tricking users into doing exercise. I’d say it’s more cajoling them – placing them into a fantasy world they won’t want to leave (and the only way to stay is to pedal!).
Lack of motivation and lack of time stops many of us from grabbing the gym kit – yes, even I, a self-confessed fitness addict, have my off-days. But, what VR does do is transform the humble, boring exercise bike into a completely immersive, engaging, dare I say addictive experience that you’ll want to come back to again and again – working up a sweat on your own never felt so good!
But seriously, by focusing on the things that motivate us most – music, films or characters – VR immerses us into worlds we already find fascinating. Which means we’ll want to stay for longer. Which means bye bye beer gut, hello six pack.
As with most things in life, VR fitness isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of protein shake. But if it gives people who wouldn’t normally touch a gym with a barge pole an opportunity to get fit by making exercise more accessible, then I’m all for it. Plus, what would you rather do? Gaze out at the sea while working out in a virtual beach paradise? Or come nose-to-cheek with a stranger’s sweaty shorts in a spin class? I know which one I’d prefer.
If you’re interested in finding out more about VR and everything it has to offer talk to me about the upcoming VR Meetup we are organising and exciting VR businesses we are currently recruiting for.