Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Can virtual reality create real fitness?

That is the question for this month.  So I was reading a book about how the brain works and the number of correlations between exercise and improved memory and exercise and learning suggest that maybe exercise would be useful in my current life.  And then I looked in the mirror this week and ugh.  Well, suffice to say I decided something needed to be done.  The gyms are closed and C really doesn’t like the mat I need to do the Beachbody programs.  So instead, given that I’ve been enjoying my Quest, I’ve decided to see what kind of results you can get from VR.

And I’ll tell you - after today’s workout, I’m betting you can get decent results.

So I’ve done the pre-test measurements.  Ugh - that was eye opening in an less than ideal way.  I also dug my Fitbit out of storage.  That was even more disturbing.

11h and 38min stationary?!?  Yikes!

So my goal is to see what changes with VR directed exercise.  The tools:

  • my Oculus Quest
  • stationary bike
  • cadence sensor (lets the Quest know what the bike is doing)
  • 5lbs weights for use on the bike (this is a slight cheat to the straight vr but I like my arms to do something other than take pics on the bike)
  • weighted wrist bands for use with action games (except Fit XR because I tried that once and it didn’t end well).

Alright, so I figure target 6 days/week - 3 “real” workouts and 3 “I got off the couch” workouts.

As to what those workouts involve - subject to change but definitely cycling both around the world and the games.  I’ll also track how far I cycle this month (this is not hard - my phone tells me ;).  

The primary VR game is FitXR, which is boxing (or dance, but for me boxing) based.  I bought the “intense” level - a $10 upgrade.  And my ego took a huge hit when I did it today as it destroyed me!  I was so proud of myself the first 5 mins or so and then I died over the next 15.  Lol so on the plus side, I have high hopes it’ll contribute to results.  

Not my best effort, but so you can see some of the game

This is one of the “warmup” options - I filmed it cause it’s short lol.  And full transparency- I did this *after* the workout that destroyed me so this is definitely not a perfect round.  If you scroll part way through you’ll see some of the obstacles that cause squats and side bends.   Dawn - if you happen to watch this - I’m working on keeping my hands up lol but definitely still a failure more often than not.  It’s a very good thing I don’t punch anything that’ll punch back!

Other options include Oh Shape - sometime this month I’ll film this one.  The idea here is that a wall is coming toward you with a human-shape hole in it and you have to move your body to fit through the shape.  Also occasional balls to hit out of the way and walls to duck under or around.  Apparently this one is based on a Japanese game show.  Some of them I find are some exercise, especially if I have arm weights on.  Some not so much.  And the scoring is super random and very frustrating so I have to convince myself not to look at the score.

RacketNX and Beat Saber are *tons* of fun and involve movement.  I’m not convinced they qualify as "exercise", but they’re on the list.  I’ll try to snag a vid of each at some point.

I have a couple other games that have movement aspects to them but they’re so little they don’t even pretend to count (think mini golf ;)

So yeah - it’s one week into Jan.  We’ll see how this goes...   If anybody reading has a quest and wants to play, I’m LaurCH on there.


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