Can You Really Use Video Games to Workout?

The idea of keeping fit used to be synonymous with the gym, grueling workouts and for some, hating every minute of it. However, thanks to advancements, technology may be revolutionizing the fitness industry, seeing the emergence and popularity of VR and exercise video games.

While the idea is great, after all, why not make fitness fun? Do exercise video games actually get you results or is it better to stick to the tried-and-tested method of going to the gym?

Exercise and Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology that immerses the user in another real-like world. It can make you feel like you’re actually transported elsewhere, using a combination of images, sounds and more to create this life-like reality. While VR has been used for games, it’s also been used in the fitness industry.

It requires a headset, which typically looks similar to wraparound sunglasses, to produce images from the virtual reality. And in the fitness industry, that means transporting you to a world that requires you to move and basically exercise by accident.

For example, a virtual reality fitness game could mean requiring you to throw punches or kicks and jump over or dodge obstacles. The auditory and visual stimulation can mean time will go by faster than it would in a gym.

When it comes to exercise and virtual reality though, you do need to be careful of your surroundings. Sometimes, the virtual reality can seem a bit too much like reality which could lead to accidents, so make sure that you have a safe space to move around in, preferably with a soft floor.

Exercise video games

A halfway point between virtual reality fitness and technology are exercise video games. These are your typical video games that you can play, but it uses your body movements to control the game. Whether that’s through a camera that tracks you or controllers that you hold in both hands, you have to move for your character in the game to do so as well.

If the words ‘video games’ isn’t enough to convince you that it can make exercising more fun, then maybe this study will. A study published in the Games for Health Journal, conducted by researchers from Brazil and Bath, have shown that the health effects from playing exercise video games were on par with those from running.

Participants with Type 1 Diabetes exercised either by running or playing an active video game. They had their heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption and blood sugar levels measured immediately following the workout as well as 30-minutes and then 24-hours afterwards.

The results showed that both forms of exercise had positive health effects, with blood glucose levels falling to a healthy level. However, those who played video games had a far more enjoyable time than those running.

Exercise and other technology

For many though, while the virtual reality and exercise video games are something that seems really fun, the price tag may dim that excitement. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use technology to your advantage. There are cheaper yet just as effective ways that modern companies and technology are offering that make fitness just as fun, albeit in a different way.

Step counters

Counting your steps is a such a simple yet effective way to really work on your fitness. While doing additional exercise apart from walking is recommended, this is a great part in getting you up and moving and active every day.

Step counting is so popular that you don’t even need a fitness watch to do so; most phones have it as a function. So set yourself a daily step goal (most aim for 10, 000 steps a day), and aim to hit it each day.

To add to the challenge even more, create a competition with your friends and family to determine who can do the most steps within a certain time frame, like a month. This way, it’ll challenge you to push up your step goal and add some fun, friendly competition to it.

Audio and video-based training

Sometimes, you just want to do your workout when you want and wherever you want. Thanks to audio and video-based training apps, like Aaptiv, you can do that. Companies like Aaptiv are using technology to make exercising much more accessible and enjoyable. With everything you need that right in one fitness app, you can be part of a community and compete in challenges that’ll make training exciting and fun.

Modern companies are definitely making exercise more fun while still yielding positive health results. With the more lucrative options such as virtual reality and active video games being a great yet higher price point for some, other options such as fitness apps and step counters are a great way to still enjoy training without the expensive hardware.



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