VR fitness improves memory performance and mood, study finds

VR fitness improves memory performance and mood, study finds

Recent research suggests that VR-based fitness training improves working memory and mood more effectively than conventional training or rest.

FACTS

Researchers from the Institute for Human Movement and Medical Sciences at the University of Niigata in Japan studied how physical training using a VR headset affects the brain. They focused on the effects on working memory, which stores information for short periods of time.

The results indicate that even a ten-minute fitness session using VR headsets improves mood and performance on working memory tasks more effectively than conventional exercise or rest. According to the researchers, VR fitness could therefore be an optimal program to improve working memory function and even prevent depression and dementia.

25 healthy young adults participated in the study. They completed three sessions: Training without VR headsets, training with VR headsets, and rest without VR headsets. Before and after the training sessions, they performed a task to measure working memory performance.

Heart rate and perceived exertion were higher during training with the VR headset than at rest. Mood was better in the VR condition than in the other sessions, and working memory performance showed shorter reaction times after training, especially with the VR headset.

Brain activity measures showed activation in several regions during the working memory task. Specific activation was observed in certain brain regions when using the VR headset. There was no significant correlation between performance on the working memory task and activity in the brain regions studied. However, higher vitality was associated with better performance.

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CONTEXT

XR and AI in Neuroscience and Fitness

XR and AI are becoming increasingly important in the fields of neuroscience and fitness. A powerful example of this is the story of Erick Gallun, a psychologist and researcher who credits his recovery from a life-threatening heart condition to his regular training with VR fitness apps.

Gallun began working out with the Supernatural app during the pandemic and quickly noticed a significant improvement in his physical fitness. Despite a serious health setback at the end of 2022, which required a complicated operation, he was able to recover quickly and continue his training thanks to the good condition he was in thanks to VR training.

This example illustrates the positive impact VR fitness can have on physical and mental health. The immersive experience of virtual reality makes exercise more accessible and motivating for many people. In turn, regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of various diseases and contribute to overall well-being.

VR and AI are also opening up new possibilities in research. For example, scientists are using these technologies to detect diseases such as Alzheimer's at an early stage or to study how memories are formed in the brain. Mikhail Lebedev, a neuroscientist at Duke University, believes that AI, VR, and neuroscience will become even more intertwined in the future, and that the human brain could be enhanced by technology.

Sources: News-Medical