How good is virtual reality fitness? Starting signal for the long-term test
Our author Josef takes on the ultimate challenge: Fitness courses in virtual reality – How fit does VR make you?
What do people like to do at the turn of the year? They sign up for a gym membership under the pressure of their guilt fed by excessive cookie consumption. And because we’re MIXED here, and I’ve spread way too much sweet stuff on way too few bodies over Christmas, of course, it has to be a gym in virtual reality for me.
Cookie jelly, good resolutions, and fitness advertising- a bad mix
The year is 2022, and it’s early January. In line with my painstakingly built cookie belly, the news is trickling in about new features for a VR fitness game: “Courses curated by experts,” it says, “designed to help you develop more consistent habits,” and a “healthier lifestyle” is also promised.
Ha! Perfect timing! It’s as if the makers of FitXR (formerly BoxVR) knew that, at the beginning of the year of all times, I’d easily fall for emotional bait-and-switch offers. Good intentions and all.
The perfect opportunity to finally get my act together, I think. My brain briefly tries to remind me with an almost faded memory of the financially negative impact of a super-expensive and barely-used two-year contract at a real gym. But I skillfully block it out. That was a long time ago, and life has made me wiser. I know exactly what I’m doing, brain! Don’t interfere!
And because I just have my five motivated minutes, I naturally say “yes” to the savings subscription on offer. I’m not going to pay an extra $40 just because I can cancel every month. Not this time! I’m going to use it regularly now anyway, and for the rest of my life. After all, I want to get fit and not throw in the virtual towel after a few days.
However, there is one thing about my stamina in sports.
History of a sports muffle
After signing a contract with the company I will soon have to thank for my new, toned body, a few memories still catch up with me. As a youngster, I spent a long time chasing balls, trying to kick them into nets. In a legendary A-youth game in front of almost 23 spectators, I even managed to score five goals in one game. But this is not the time to chat about my Al Bundy moment.
Even back then, I had problems staying on the ball for long and liked to skip training occasionally. I’d rather finish the season in “ANSTOSS 3: Der Fußballmanager” or finish off my buddy on the console in Pro Evolution Soccer. Later, the balls became smaller, the lawn more manicured and the handicap found its way into my life.
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Virtual golf and rhythmic jumping in between – this is where I’m at home
My career as a hobby golfer didn’t last long either and finally led me to the virtual course. The only hole I holed today was in Walkabout Minigolf – greetings to my colleague Ben, I’ll break you again soon! With the PlayStation VR, I entered the virtual world of rhythmic hitting for the first time.
Beat Saber on the PSVR wasn’t exactly precise with the fiddly Move controllers, but the combination of music, rhythm, and movement immediately captivated me. With the arrival of standalone VR goggles in my living room, my interest continued to grow, and I gradually tried out the best fitness games for the Meta Quest 2.
Towards the end of last year, however, I started to run out of steam. I only played miniature golf on the Quest 2 and the closer the turn of the year came, the more the abuse of gingerbread, cookies, and the lack of exercise showed. The back pinches, the belt presses, the shirts stretch.
Something has to change.
Headline: Public pressure molds VR writer into jock
So that I don’t drop out early again, crawl into my cave and let Alexa suggest the next Netflix movie while I munch on chips, I’ve decided: I’ll test FitXR for several weeks, work out at least three times a week for an hour each time, and share my experiences with you every weekend.
You won’t win this time, inner bastard! Public pressure and the inquisitiveness of millions of MIXED readers will finally turn me into a VR performance athlete and counteract the negative effects of my pizza addiction (no, the cookies are not solely to blame).
I can’t wait to see what comes out of this …